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Decline in wireless subscriber base in March 2019 not worrisome, says COAI

May 23, 2019
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According to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the decline in wireless subscriber base reported in March 2019 is not worrisome as the reduced numbers are a result of consolidation of multiple, unused SIMs and weeding out of low-usage connections by operators.

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s telecom subscription report reported that India’s total wireless subscriber base declined from 1,183.68 million in February 2019 to 1,161.81 million in March 2019, registering a monthly decline rate of 1.85 per cent. Further, the mobile subscriber base of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel reduced by nearly 14.5 million and 15.1 million, while Reliance Jio added 9.4 million users during the period.

The COAI has attributed this fall to a combination of factors such as subscribers with multiple SIMs making a decision to move onto one mobile number. COAI also said that with the roll out of ‘minimum recharge plans’ by operators, many low-usage customers may have decided not to continue with multiple connections. Also, the requirement of recharging within a set period to keep the number active may have led to discontinuation of connections, COAI added.

As per COAI, the fall in subscribers is not worrisome because of those factors and the improvement in revenue and increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) in future will confirm this trend.

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