Bharti Airtel has for the first time lost its lead in rural India, with Vodafone now ahead in terms of subscriber numbers. This is according to the latest data from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
The figures reflect Vodafone’s recent attempts to court subscribers in the countryside – Vodafone’s total of 82.24 million rural customers now just outstrips Bharti Airtel’s 82.16 million.
While Vodafone has now surpassed Bharti Airtel in rural areas, it still has a way to go before it catches up with the market leaders overall subscriber numbers – as of March 2013, Vodafone and Bharti have 152.3 million and 188.2 million respectively.
That said, Vodafone’s growth is encouraging, with 2.47 million additions across the same month. Bharti meanwhile gained 1.57 million customers in this period.