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More handsets sold than subscribers added: ICA

Thomas K Thomas

Yankee group's study findings disputed

New Delhi , May 31

The Indian Cellular Association (ICA), the industry body of handset manufacturers, has rejected claims of handsets sales being lower than the mobile subscriber growth. ICA has said that more than 15 million handsets have been sold in the last three months, which is more than the number of subscribers added during the period.

A study by Yankee Group had earlier suggested that the cellular operators may be exaggerating the subscriber growth numbers as the number of handsets sold was lower than the total number of mobile users being reported. The study was quoted by the Tata Group to oppose the subscriber linked spectrum allocation policy of the Government. The Tatas had said that operators were beefing up the subscriber base to get more spectrum and therefore, the Government decision to allocate spectrum based on the user base was flawed.

However, at a meeting of the telecom committee of the Confederation of Indian Industries, ICA clarified that apart from the legally declared sales numbers, there could be an estimated 15-20 per cent handset sales comprising refurbished and second hand handsets.

In a related development, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said that it supported the authenticity of the subscriber numbers being reported by the operators. TRAI said that there was no reason to believe that the numbers were artificial.

DoT had also earlier defended the subscriber figures announced by various telecom operators saying the best of international practices were being followed, which is very stringent in subscriber counting and definitely we believe the operators.

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