Tata Teleservices loses 7.3% subscribers in October in Maharashtra

Tata Teleservices, the mobile telecom arm of the Tata Group that was sold to Bharti Airtel last month, lost about 7.3% of its nearly 7 mln mobile subscribers in Maharashtra and Goa, according to a regulatory filing by the company.

Tata Telservices Maharashtra Ltd, as the company is know in the two circles of Mumbai and Maharashtra + Goa, saw its total mobile subscribers fall to 64.68 lakh (6.47 mln) by the end of October. The company had 69.8 lakh users at the end of September.

The decline comes on top of the 3.5% fall seen in September.

Part of the fall in subscribers can be attributed to reports that appeared in prominent business dailies at the time that the company had decided to shut its operations down.

To quash the rumors, the company came out with a statement on Oct 9 that it had not decided to shut down.

Shortly thereafter, the company announced that it was transferring the business to Bharti Airtel along with some spectrum dues to the government.

Airtel is reported to paying a negligible sum for the spectrum, subscribers and the network infrastructure.

The move was necessitated by the company’s failure to upgrade its services to 4G or fourth generation.

As a result of this failure, it was not able to match the prices offered by its 4G-enabled rivals, resulting in a drastic loss of business to new entrants like Reliance Jio.

While the company’s business model was based on charging around Rs 80 per GB of wireless data, data prices in the market fell to just Rs 6 per GB, making TTSL’s business unviable.

The company has, in recent days, sent out text messages to its users that it is not shutting its service down.