Subscription data for the month of August 2012 released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed six out of 13 reported operators experienced negative subscription growth, for the second consecutive month.
The operators were Airtel, Idea, MTNL, Uninor, Videocon and Vodafone. In July, operators that had reported net negative additions were MTNL, Loop, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Uninor and Videocon. That made MTNL, Uninor and Videocon reporting negative growth for both the months.
Excluding Reliance which had scrubbed a whopping 20.49 million subscribers, the other five operators had made for 4.22 million negative additions in July.  For August too if we exclude the operator that reported maximum deletions, the other five operators reported 5.59 million of negative subscription addition.
That is to say that if we set aside Reliance’s July de-growth as an exception item, the negative subscriber growth significantly accelerated in the month of August.
Uninor led the tally for August at 2.38 million, followed by Airtel at 1.90 million, Idea 1.65 million, Vodafone 1.56 million, Videocon 0.38 million and MTNL 0.11 million.
In July 2012, Reliance Comm had reported a negative subscriber addition of 20.49 million, followed by Tata Teleservices at 2.41 million, Uninor 1.08 million, Videocon 0.42 million, and MTNL and Loop 0.15 million each, as per TRAI.
What is more, adjusting for the operator with the largest number of deletions, the net negative growth for the industry has been even more significantly high. So, if we exclude Reliance and Uninor de-growths in July and August, the net additions for the India mobile sector stood at -0.12 million in July, while it was -2.75 million in August.
So to reiterate, the industry-wide phenomenon to scrub ‘inactive’ subscriptions seems to have became more broad-based over the month.
Will this scrubbing continue to be in the month of September too? More likely yes. And is there a positive fallout of this for the industry? Most certainly yes, and we will touch upon that in the next post, along with some data points. Stay tuned!
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