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According to new data by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), India's biggest telecom player Vodafone Idea lost over 6.5 million subscribers last year in November.
However, it still remained the leading telecom operator with total mobile subscriber base reaching 421.08 million (Vodafone: 215.99 million, Idea: 205.09 million), followed by Bharti Airtel 314.76 million subscribers, while Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd stood at 262.75 million subscribers.
The data also provides mobile subscriber numbers for individual circles. UP (East) circle remained at the top with a total of 87.35 million subscribers followed by Maharashtra at 85.16 million subscribers.
Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, stated, "Year 2017 has been a landmark year for the telecom sector with grounds being laid for the commercial roll-out of 5G and other emerging technologies such as M2M, IoT, AI, AR, and VR. All stakeholders worked in unison to expand infrastructural capabilities in order to ensure robust connectivity and uninterrupted delivery of digital services to all. A whopping INR 10.4 lakh crore has already been spent towards building formidable and world-class telecom infrastructure. All the telecom operators are working together to establish India as a powerful, global digitally empowered knowledge economy of tomorrow. Innovations are in line and the path has been set. "
Mobile connectivity and data services are imperative in the goal to bridge the digital divide in India. With these tools, we can move towards a truly equitable and democratic nation. The telecom industry, therefore, deserves urgent and immediate intervention to encourage policy and regulatory stability and facilitate growth, innovation, and investment in the sector. This is important, considering the mounting financial debt and debilitating financial health of the industry.