Airtel crosses five mn subscriber mark in northern states

May 8th, 2008 - 8:47 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, May 8 (IANS) Telecom major Airtel Thursday said it had crossed the five million subscriber base mark in three northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Much of the growth has taken place in the last two years. The number of subscribers has doubled from 2.5 mn in 2006 to 5 mn in 2008.

“Over one million customers have been added in the last 11 months alone. We have become the largest cellular service provider in these three circles. We have made significant progress in these states and are looking at greater penetration in the coming time,” Sanjeev Kumar Saxena, Airtel CEO for all three states, said.

Airtel claims it has an overall 30 percent of market share in the three circles - the highest by any mobile service provider in the region.

“Airtel entered the Himachal circle 10 years ago while in Punjab and Haryana we entered just over five years ago. Our growth has been steady and consistent,” Airtel’s chief operating officer Sanjay Bahl said.

Company officials said Airtel had over 3.2 million subscribers in Punjab alone followed by over one million in Haryana and over 800,000 in Himachal Pradesh.

Saxena said Airtel had tied up with the farmers’ federation IFFCO to provide farming inputs and help to farmers using mobile phones.

“This could be related to farming techniques, weather updates and other services,” Saxena added.

Both company officials said Punjab, Haryana and Himachal presently had mobile penetration of just 33, 37 and 42 percent, respectively, compared to higher averages in some southern states and penetration of over 70 percent in metropolitan cities.

“We are looking at increase in mobile penetration, especially in Punjab,” Bahl said.

The company has over 60,000 retailers in the region with over 6,000 mobile towers covering most towns and cities, highways and over 25,000 villages.

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