Uninor subscribers growing six times as fast as industry

Uninor, the joint venture between the Unitech group and Norway’s Telenor has emerged as the fastest growing Indian telecom operator over the last several months.

In the six months ended February, the company’s average subscriber addition per month is 2.23 million, higher than any other company in India.

Uninor’s closest competitor is Idea Cellular, which has an average run rate of 2.03 million a month over the last six months, according to a report by Mumbai-based Angel Broking.

In comparison, the biggest telecom company in India, Bharti Airtel, added just 1.15 million subscribers a month on average during the same period. (see the first chart below)

As a result, Uninor’s subscriber base increased by a whopping 38.4% in the last six months to 41 million (4.1 crore) — growing six times as fast as the industry. (see the second chart below)

The average industry subscriber growth for the six months was 6.2%.

Idea’s subscriber growth rate was 10.5%, taking its total at 110.7 million.

Overall subscriber additions in India’s mobile industry, particularly GSM, have been modest for the last eight months. The total GSM additions fell to just 5.3 million from their highs in the 20s in 2009-10.

However, since then, they have shown an almost unbroken trend of improvement, rising constantly to 8.8 million net additions in February.