India’s Uninor, the country’s eighth-ranked mobile operator with just below a 5 per cent market share, hit its target of rolling out 5,000 base stations last year in the six regions it operates in.

The company, which is owned by Norway’s Telenor, said its networks now cover 51 per cent of the population in those areas (up from 42 per cent a year ago). That improved coverage enabled the operator to expand its connections by 33 per cent in 2014 to 44 million – by far the highest growth in the country, which saw total mobile connections last year rise 7 per cent to 946.2 million, according to GSMA Intelligence.

Uninor’s share of the entire India market rose from 3.7 per cent to 4.6 per cent.

Aircel, the sixth largest player, had the second fastest growth (18 per cent) — it added almost 12 million connections and now has 78.6 million.

Uninor said it faced a number of obstacles that delayed the rollout by three months. The most difficult was natural disasters in some regions, as well as regulatory issues. It didn’t receive approval to install the base stations until July, so the sites were built out in less than five months.