New Delhi: The country added a whopping 4.487 crore wireless telephone users during the quarter ended 31 March, 2009, taking the subscriber base to 39.176 crore.
The wireless user base grew by 12.93% during the January-March quarter of this year. In the preceding quarter ended December 2008, the wireless subscriber base was 34.689 crore, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a statement.
The total telecom subscriber base (wireline and wireless) touched 42.972 crore for the quarter ended March this year from 38.479 crore in the quarter ended December 2008, registering an increase of 11.68%.
The tele-density (number of telephones per 100 people) for the quarter ended March 2009 reached 36.98 as compared to 33.23 in the previous quarter, Trai said.
However, the all-India blended Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) per month for the GSM segment decreased by 6.82% to Rs205 in March 2009 from Rs220 in December 2008.
While the ARPU for GSM postpaid service declined 2.8% from Rs559 in December 2008 to Rs543 in March 2009, ARPU for prepaid service slipped 6% from Rs192 in December 2008 to Rs181 in March 2009.
For the CDMA segment, the all-India blended ARPU per month for the quarter ended March 2009 stood at Rs99 as against Rs111 for the quarter ended December 2008.
The huge difference between postpaid and prepaid ARPU in the CDMA segment, noticed in the last quarter, continued to remain valid for the current quarter as well, Trai said.
“Postpaid ARPU has been five times that of prepaid ARPU, which perhaps, could be attributed to declining importance of processing fee on recharge coupon/voucher purchased by prepaid subscribers,” it said adding that the gap was the lowest in Circle C (3.68 times) and highest in Circle A (5.59 times).
Subscriber base of wireline service has increased marginally from 3.790 crore for the quarter ended December 2008 to 3.796 crore for March quarter 2009.
During the quarter, rural wireless user base increased 17.77% to 10.971 crore subscribers for quarter ended March 2009 from 9.315 million subscribers for the previous quarter, while rural wireline subscriber base showed a marginal decrease to 1.058 crore users from 1.068 crore for December quarter.
Broadband subscriber base (with a download speed of 256 Kbps or more) stood at 0.622 crore for the quarter ended March 2009 as against 0.552 crore in the previous quarter, TRAI said.
The total Internet subscriber base reached 1.354 crore for the January-March quarter from 1.285 crore in the previous quarter, registering an increase of about 5.3%.