In line with the telecom subscription outlook presented by BusinessandMarket in an October2012 release, the telecom subscription data released by TRAI for the month of November 2012 captured a significant decline.

According to data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for the month of November 2012, the wireless subscription base in the country saw a negative growth of 13.63 million over the preceding month. The overall telecom subscription base was down by 13.70 million over October 2012 (the wireline segment showed a negative growth of 80,000.)

Not surprisingly, the decline in urban subscription accounted for a bulk of the de-growth, with a negative growth of 12.91 million. The fact that even rural subscriptions recorded a negative growth, even if a paltry 0.72 million, was worth noting.

Ten out of the 13 functional telcos saw negative subscription growth during November 2012, with Tata Teleservices degrowing by 4.23 million, followed by Airtel at 2.80 million, Vodafone 2.38 million, Idea 1.56 million and Aircel 1.46 million.

It is significant that as many as five operators clocked negative growths upwards of 1 million, while three of the country’s five largest telcos recorded negative growths of 1.5 million or more.

Mobile number portability (MNP) accounted for 1.99 million requests in the month of November 2012.

BusinessandMarket had noted in the October release that operators were likely to prefer scrubbing 6-7 million inactive subscriptions per month, and would not like to delete more than 9-10 million subscriptions a month. From that viewpoint, the scrubbing of subscriptions by operators in November is on the higher side.

TheOctober release had observed that the mobile subscriptions base in India will steadily shrink over the coming months and was expected to be around 880 million by December 2012 and 800 million by December 2014. According to the TRAI data, the wireless subscriptions stood at 890.60 million at the close of November 2012.
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