Sunday, March 18, 2012

History of Indian wireless networks

By analyzing the user base of wireless (GSM/CDMA) networks in India, it is possible to trace the rise and fall of the network operators.

Below graph depicts the user base of wireless networks in India from 2005 to 2011.

Cellular network operators' user base in India 
The numbers of smaller operators are trailing at the bottom of the graph, click on the graph to see a larger version of the graph image.
This is compiled from the data publicly available from the Cellular Operators Association of India.
(Disclaimer: Reliance decided not to submit their data to COAI from March 2010 onwards.Certain CDMA operators are also listed since COAI lists them. Certain month data are taken from average of nearby months since COAI ignored to supply the data for the same.)

Insights about GSM Cellular network operators:

- Airtel has always been the market leader among the wireless service providers in India
- BSNL had initial lead, but lost user base and started to lag behind Idea
- Hutch became Hutchisson Essar in 2006, Hutchisson Essar was acquired by Vodafone in 2007
- Idea went from No.4 to No.3 beating BSNL during the end of 2009

Rise of BSNL's user base
Despite being a public sector undertaking, BSNL showed consistent growth and now remains 4th largest network in India.

Rise and fall of BPL
BPL had a shaky history of user retention and finally became Loop Mobile in May 2009.

Indian GSM Operator subscriber base : 1997 vs 2011

Below graphs show the user base of networks in December, 1997 and December, 2011.

Userbase of Indian wireless networks during December, 1997

Userbase of Indian wireless networks during December,2011

*This post is a clear example of how raw data can be visualized to provide interesting insights.

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