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Telecom user base up at 76.7 mn
June 23, 2004 15:40 IST
India's telecom subscriber base grew by 8.5 per cent to touch 7.67 crore (76.7 million) for the quarter ended March 2004 compared to the previous quarter, primarily driven by a whopping surge in mobile phone users.
While subscribers of fixed services, both fixed line and WLL-F, increased marginally to 4.28 crore (Rs 42.8 million) in the quarter from 4.2 crore (Rs 42 million) in the previous quarter ended December 2003, that of mobile service users base (cellular and WLL-M) jumped to 3.36 crore (Rs 33.6 million) from 2.84 crore (Rs 28.4 million), according to the quarterly performance indicators of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
The number of mobile users in the country has exceeded the fixed subscribers in circles like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab and Chennai.
With the growth in the number of mobile subscribers continuing, the country will have more mobile subscribers than fixed users in 2004 itself.
Mobile subscribers (WLL-M) and cellular companies also showed a growth of 18.46 per cent in the quarter.
Mobile tariffs continued to show a downward trend and declined by 23 per cent during the period.
Average revenue per user for cellular users fell by 5 per cent to Rs 436 despite a minor rise in average minutes of use.
Average revenue per user for WLL-M also witnessed a decline to Rs 383 per month from Rs 460. Minutes of use were up 45 per cent over the same quarter in 2003.
During the quarter, Internet subscriber base swelled by 10 per cent to 45 lakh (4.5 million) with BSNL heading the list with 11.28 lakh (1.128 million) and MTNL 7.69 lakh (769,000), TRAI said.
The share of PSUs in ISP market is 41 per cent of the total subscriber base, and the share of PSU operators vis-a-vis the private players in mobile services has increased to a ratio of 17:81.
Average minutes of use per Internet subscriber were of the order of 400 minutes and ARPU for Internet service was Rs 406.
Internet telephony usage recorded a growth of 35 per cent with 2.71 crore (27.1 million) minutes in the quarter.
Number of village public telephones added during the January-March quarter was 3,288, making it a total of 522,000 VPTs in the country covering over 86 per cent of the total number of villages.
Number of PCOs also increased by seven per cent to 19.24 lakh (1.924 million).
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