Dent to India’s Telecom Growth Story – Inflated Subscriber Numbers

What’s the total telecom subscriber base of India? 400 million+? Well, Telecom operators have inflated the numbers to gain additional spectrum and real numbers could be substantially low.

We told you this earlier and DoT, after conducting an internal check found that most telecom operators were overstating their subscriber base.

For instance, in the month of April – telecom players announced the total addition of 38 crore subscribers while the real number stood at 30 crores!.

Take a look:

Operators Claimed Addition Actual Numbers
Bharti Airtel 9.4 Cr 8 Cr
Vodafone 6.8 Cr 5 Cr
Reliance Comm 6.4 Cr 5 Cr
Idea 3.8 Cr 3.5 Cr
BSNL 4.6 Cr 3 Cr
Spice 41L 39L
MTNL 41L 29L


Why Operators Inflate Numbers?

The government awards additional spectrum solely on the basis of one’s subscriber base and that serves as an incentive for telecom players to inflate numbers and while all operators have deined the charge, do expect some of these (and the recent DoT-CBI case) to impact 3G auction dates.

Whose fault is it anyway? Operators or simply a case of wrong incentive mechanism?
An Apt Read: Indian Telecom- Misunderstood Benchmarks and Growth Potential?

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