NEW DELHI, Sept 7 India's Reliance
Communications lost more than 13 percent of its mobile
customers in July as it cut off inactive subscribers who have
not used their phones for two months, although the firm said the
move would have no impact on revenue.
About 95 percent of the mobile phone users in India, the
world's second-biggest mobile phone market, are prepaid
customers and many have multiple accounts.
For the last year or so, carriers have been cancelling
inactive accounts in a clean-up exercise, as focus shifts to
increasing revenue rather than flaunting customer base.
Tata Teleservices has reported a decline in customer base
several times in the past months after the clean-up began, but
the 20.5 million customer cutoff is the first time Reliance
Communications reported a fall.
"This is in line with the industry practice and has no
impact on customer experience or (the company's) revenues,"
Reliance Communications said in a statement after the sector
regulator released July customer data for the industry on
Reliance Communications' total mobile subscribers fell to
134.1 million mobile subscribers at the end of July, from 154.6
million in the previous month, pu shing it one spot down to rank
No.3 by subscribers.
Sixth-ranked Tata Teleservices also lost 2.4
million customers in July, shrinking its total to 77.8 million.
Telenor's India unit, which is set to lose all its
operating permits after a court order, saw its customer base
declining 1.1 million in July.
Market leader Bharti Airtel gained 1.5 million
customers in July to have a total of 188.8 million, while
Vodafone's local unit signed up 1.2 million customers in
July to boost its total to 154.9 million and became the No.2
carrier by subscribers.
India's total mobile user base fell to 913.5 million at the
end of July, 20.6 million lower than June, the Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India said. About 76 percent of the
industry subscribers are "active" customers, it said.
For detailed customer data, see www.trai.gov.in
(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Prashant Mehra; editing by