Indian Number One loses 1 million subscribers

India’s market leader Bharti Airtel saw its subscriber numbers fall by 1 million in September, following an initiative by Indian operators to provide more accurate figures by disconnecting inactive subscribers.

Reflecting this revision, the Cellular Operators Association of India placed Airtel’s total installed base at 185.9 million, meaning that it is still the number one operator despite the high number of disconnects.

Other major operators have also culled their inactive subscribers, with Vodafone shedding 0.69 million customers and Idea Cellular dropping 0.51 inactive subs. The two operators now respectively have 152.7 million and 115.5 million connections.

Since the beginning of the ‘clean-up drive’, it is believed that India’s operators have collectively disconnected 20 million inactive customers. The initiative was sparked by a change in the way that subscribers were defined as ‘active’.

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