The Indian telecommunications industry appears set for growth in 2013 as figures over the weekend indicate it has shaken off the effects of its first subscriber decline last September.
The overall number of subscribers to 657.56 million in January 2013, according to statistics from industry group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). This is an addition of 400,000 new GSM subscriptions from the previous month, or almost nine million more subscribers than the same time the previous year.
The small growth marks a gradual recovery from the industry low point in November, when the figures bottomed out at 657 million. It remains a big gap from the record 679.05 million subscribers registered in June 2012. The bounce back was also reflected in figures from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which also counts CDMA and fixed line services in its statistics.
Some commentators have attributed the dip to the government's more stringent requirements over customer information, namely to properly verify their name and address for the sale of new SIM cards. They said numbers dropped as the telcos cleaned out duplicate, inactive, and fraudulent customers from their books.
The stated mission of the non-governmental society, COAI, which counts the major operators and networking companies amongst its members, is to establish world class infrastructure and to deliver affordable mobile telephony services to the people of India.