Among five incumbent private mobile operators, only Bharti Airtel added new subscribers in September while the rest lost more than 29 lakh customers, as per the data released Monday by industry body COAI.
Airtel added over 10 lakh or a million customers in September which reduced the net loss of joint subscriber base of the five telecom operators (others being Idea, Vodafone, Aircel and Telenor) to 19.3 lakh, as per the report on subscriber base of GSM players.
The report did not include subscriber base status of Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Tata Telelservices, BSNL and MTNL for September.
Telenor, which is in the process of merger with Airtel, lost 9.37 lakh subscribers. Idea lost 9.04 lakh customers. It was followed by Vodafone which lost 7 lakh customers and Aircel, 3.94 lakh customers.
Kerala and Haryana led in the growth percentage of new additions with 0.69 percent and 0.37 percent respectively, followed by Gujarat with 0.14 per cent in September.
"The increase of subscribers in Kerala, Haryana and Gujarat shows that there is still room for basic services to grow and expand to the corners of the country," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said in a statement.
"The steady investment in infrastructure in these regions is showing positive result. The industry is reeling under a cumulative debt of over Rs 4.6 lakh crore. The industry further needs an additional investment of over Rs 2.5 lakh crore for infrastructure rollout and expansion," he said.
Bharti Airtel continues to hold the top position, with 29.8 percent market share - subscriber base of 28.2 crore. It was followed by Vodafone and Idea with 20.74 crore and 19 crore subscribers at the end of September.