Idea Cellular loses 2.4 lakh mobile users

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Idea Cellular, a telecom company owned by Aditya Birla Group, lost more than 2.47 lakh mobile customers in Gujarat during July. This is one of the biggest dent the company has ever undergone in its GSM subscriber base in the last several years of operations in the state.

Idea — the second largest telecom operator in Gujarat — saw the number of its GSM subscribers dip to 83,58,540 in July from 86,06,504 that existed a month ago, as per the latest data released by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), a non-governmental body that has private cellular operators as its core members.

Though Vodafone (2,000 customers), Airtel (58,000), Aircel (28,500) and Uninor (3,000) added subscribers to their existing tally of customers, the loss clocked by Idea Cellular dragged the state amongst the top telecom circles that registered a loss in GSM subscriber base in July. Gujarat lost over 2.41 lakh subscribers, during the month, which is second only to 3.5 lakh customers that Tamil Nadu lost during the same period.

Though Idea has lost subscribers in other telecom circles like UP East (82,800 customers), Orissa (43,400), MP (37,500) and Bihar (20,600), the loss in Gujarat is the highest clocked by the company for the month of July in the entire country.

The company, however, did not comment on the reasons behind the sudden dip in subscriber base in Gujarat. In response to a questionnaire send to the company, officials responded saying in spite of the dip in customer base, the company has been growing in terms of revenue and market share in Gujarat.

“Idea is focused at growing Revenue Market Share (RMS) both at national and circle level. As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report, Idea has grown its revenue market share in Gujarat for last few quarters consistently. Despite operating in a hyper competitive market, Idea grew its RMS from 18.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011-12 to 18.3 per cent in first quarter of 2012-13 in Gujarat,” said Arul Bright, COO, Gujarat, Idea.

During July, Videocon was the only other telecom player who lost 85,000 subscribers in Gujarat. The last time Idea lost subscribers in the state was in November 2011 when the company's customer base dipped by 1.1 lakh.

Vodafone, the largest telecom operator in Gujarat, has also found the going tough in the last few months. In May, Vodafone lost 1.55 lakh mobile customers in Gujarat. It managed to add only 15,000 and 2,000 customers in June and July.

Apart from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, Orissa is the other state which lost around 2.81 lakh subscribers in July. The other telecom circles that lost subscribers including Madhya Pradesh (lost 48,600 customers), UP-West (1.9 lakh), UP-East (1.1 lakh) and Kerala (1.6 lakh).
Oh, bad for idea.
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