Idea and Airtel on top of VLR users as percentage of their actual subscriber base

A section of the Indian telecom industry started talking about manipulated subscriber base reporting by telecom operators. Usually, most Indian telecom service providers report the number of SIM cards sold in the market as their subscriber base. Since the SIM card owner may or may not be using the phone, the number of SIMs sold in the market does not reflect a true picture.




Despite the demand from a part of the industry, many operators are still showing the number of SIMs sold in the market as their subscriber base and not the active users.




According to TRAI, the proportion of VLR subscribers is approximately 70.72 percent of the total wireless subscriber base reported by the service providers.




Service provider wise, Idea Cellular leads the tally with 93.07 percent followed by Bharti with 90.72 percent; Etisalat is at the bottom with 34.15 percent.




Circle-wise, Jammu and Kashmir has the highest proportion of VLR subscribers with


79.63 percent followed by Assam (78.18 percent) and Maharashtra (76.79 percent); Mumbai


has the lowest proportion with 58.49 percent.




Out of the total 811.59 million subscribers, 573.97 million subscribers were active subscribers on the date of Peak VLR for the month of March 2011. The total active VLR number excludes the CDMA VLR figure of BSNL, as the service provider has not provided the VLR figures corresponding to their total CDMA subscriber base of 5.57 million.




According to TRAI, if subscriber is in active stage i.e. he is able to send/receive calls/SMSs he is available both in HLR and VLR. However, it may be possible that the subscriber is registered in HLR but not in VLR due to the reason that he is either switched-off or moved out of coverage area, not reachable etc. In such circumstances he will be available in HLR but not in VLR. This causes difference between subscriber number reported by the service providers and numbers available in VLR.




The VLR data calculated here is on the basis of active subscribers in VLR on the date of Peak VLR of the particular month for which the data is being collected. This data is to be taken from the switches having the purge time of not more than 72 hours.




According to TRAI, the number of telephone subscribers in India increased to 846.32 million at the end of March 2011 from 826.25 Million at the end of February 2011, registering a growth of 2.43 percent.






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