Bharti Airtel, already India's biggest mobile services company, has become the first in the country to cross the 200-million subscriber mark, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
''Aitel has crossed the 200 million mobile subscriber mark in India, further consolidating its leadership position in the world's second-largest mobile market," the statement said. Its boast as the market leader has been strengthened by its recent acquisition of Loop Mobile, with its 4.3 million users – mainly in the lucrative Mumbai circle.
Airtel is in its 20th year of telecom services. The company got its first permits for mobile telephony in November 1994 and started services in 1995. Since then it has become the largest telecom operator in India in terms of both customers and revenue, as well as the fourth-largest mobile operator in the world by subscribers.
The last 100 million users were added in less than five years, according to the Airtel statement. It had crossed the 100 million mark in 2009 (See: Airtel set to hit million-subscriber mark).
The company led the mobile market with a 28.1 per cent share at the end of January, according to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India. (COAI).
Vodafone, currently locked in a Rs20,000 crore ($3.2 billion) tax dispute with Indian authorities, was in second place with 162.1 million users and a 23.06 per cent market share, COAI said (Hit with huge bill, Vodafone slams India's 'double taxation' standards).