August 2010 GSM net additions: Bharti reports lowest figures since June 2007
Munira Dongre 16 September 2010

Bharti’s net additions of 2 million trailed Vodafone, BSNL, and even new entrant Uninor

This has been one of the worst performances ever for Bharti. It has reported its lowest-ever net additions since June 2007. With its net additions lower than Vodafone, BSNL and Uninor, it is possible that it could drop to number 6 in terms of net additions in August (if press reports saying Tata Teleservices added 2.1 million are correct and if Reliance Communications maintains its July 2010 rate). It is possible that Uninor is eating into Bharti's market share.

What is interesting is excluding Reliance Communications and Tata, overall GSM additions were 13.5 million in August 2010, which is much higher than 11.5 million in July - and especially significant because from April to July, subscriber additions have been in the 11-12 million range. This makes August a breakout month.

Details of net additions (month-on-month)
-Bharti: 2 million versus 2.6 million
-Vodafone: 2.3 million versus 2.4 million
-Uninor: 2.22 million versus 850,000
-Idea: 1.99 million versus 1.86 million

The most surprising performer has been Uninor. With its 2.2 million net additions, its total subscriber base is up 32% m-o-m to 9.1 million and this after being present in only 13 out of 22 circles. Kotak said in a note today, "Uninor possibly benefited from its increasing understanding of the Indian consumer (reflected in simpler pricing plans of late as compared to initial launch plans) as well as increasing network coverage in the 13 circles."

The subscriber base in Jammu & Kashmir continues to decline with more stringent know-your-customer norms. Since similar norms are being imposed on Assam and North-Eastern circles, the base in these areas could very well get affected in the coming months.

Bharti still leads with 141 million subscribers (30% market share). The subscribers and market share data for the rest is as follows:

In terms of market share of net additions in August, Vodafone and BSNL lead with 17% each, followed by Uninor at 16%, trailed by Bharti at 15%, Idea at 14% and Aircel at 12%.

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