India’s state-owned BSNL has lost more than 16 million mobile connections, or 18 per cent of its entire base, over the past 12 months.
The loss-making operator, with 73.2 million connections at the end of Q2 (excluding cellular M2M connections), saw its market share drop from almost 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent over the past year, according to GSMA Intelligence.
3G connections made up 13.5 per cent of its total, compared to just 9 per cent for market leader Bharti Airtel and 12 per cent for Vodafone India.
But over the past four quarters, BSNL has had just 2.3-3.7 per cent of the net 3G additions each quarter.
The company, the country’s sixth largest mobile operator, is determined to curb that loss and is investing INR48 billion ($740 million) to add 14,421 2G sites and 10,605 3G sites across the country, the Economic Times said.
Close rival Aircel in Q1 surpassed BSNL and moved into the fifth spot and now has 83 million connections.
The government recently reported that BSNL, which has been in the red since 2010, was on track to lose INR50 billion in fiscal 2014-15, after posting a net loss of INR70.2 billion in the last fiscal year.
Its fixed-line connections also dropped sharply, falling two million to 16 million from a year ago, according to the Department of Telecom.