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GSM subscribers down 6.62 mn to 657.16 mn in Dec

Except Uninor, which added 918,552 users, not a single operator added new subscribers during Dec

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Indian telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, and Idea, lost more than 6 million subscribers in December last year, bringing down the user base to 657.16 million, industry body COAI said today.

Total subscriber base at the end of November 2011 stood at 663.78 million users.

The top three operators -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and -- which account for over 67% of the GSM market lost over 5 million users in December, data released by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said.

Except Uninor, which added 918,552 users, not even a single operator added any new subscriber during December last year.

Bharti Airtel, which is the industry leader with a 27.68% market share, lost 1.70 million users to take its subscriber base to 181.91 million, it said.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular lost 3.29 million users and 1.97 million users, respectively. At the end of December 2012, Vodafone's subscriber base stood at 147.48 million, while that of Idea Cellular was at 113.95 million, COAI said.

Aircel lost 1.98 million users in December, which squeezed its user base to 63.35 million, while Videocon lost 371,953 subscribers pulling down its base to 3.64 million in the reported month.

State-run operator BSNL did not add a single subscriber in December and had a 14.79% share in the GSM market with 97.17 million subscribers.

Another government-run firm MTNL lost 2,253 users, taking its user base to 5.12 million at the end of December 2012.

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