GSM mobile users grow to over 300 million in rural India

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Rural subscriber base for GSM telephony services grew marginally to 300.63 million users in May this year compared to the previous month, industry body COAI said today.

The all-India GSM rural subscriber figures grew 1.1 per cent with the addition of 3.47 million new subscribers from a userbase of 297.16 million in April, according to the data released by Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI).

The country's largest telecom operator Airtel added the highest number of subscribers in May at 1.43 million, taking its rural userbse to 96.18 million.

UP (East) had the highest number of subscribers in the rural region (32.29 million), and also it recorded the highest addition of 888,563 users in May 2014.

According to sectoral regulator TRAI, total number of rural subscribers stood at 377.73 million as of March 2014. Rural users accounted for 40.49 per cent of total telephony base in India.

Of these, 371.78 million were wireless customers, while the remaining 5.96 million were wireline users.

Rural teledensity (number of telephones per 100 people) was 43.96, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.

TRAI further said private operators had a share of 89.44 per cent of the rural telephony market, while public operator BSNL had 10.56 per cent share.

The other public telecom operator, MTNL, operates in only two metro cities of Delhi and Mumbai.

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