India sees telecoms subscriptions decline

The Indian telecoms market continued its pattern of instability through April, with the number of wireless subscribers in India  decreasing month on month, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The regulator reported that the country’s total wireless subscriber base decreased from 867.8 million in March 2013 to 867.02 million at the end of April 2013; marking a 0.09 per cent decrease year on year.

The number of wireless subscribers in India has been up and down frequently in recent times due to considerable changes taking place in the market. According to the TRAI, the decline is largely due to disconnections by some of the service providers.

Middle Eastern operators S Tel and Etisalat last year exited the Indian market  in the wake of the 2G spectrum licensing scandal.

The country’s wireline subscriber base also declined from 30.21 million over the course of April 2013, to 29.99 million, and even the number of telephone subscribers decreased to 897.02 from 898.02 million. Total Broadband subscriber base increased from 15.05 million to 15.09 million over the period.

In April 2013, financial ratings agency Fitch Ratings reported that Indian operators plan to invest a significantly lower proportion of their revenues than their Chinese, Indonesian and Philippine counterparts over the next two years.

The firm believes the low level of investment is attributable to the weaker balance sheets of the Indian operators in comparison to other Asian carriers.

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