Indian GSM operators added 3.47 million rural subscribers in May, a 1.2-per cent rise from the previous month, taking their total users to 300.63 million. The country's total rural user base was at 297.16 million in April.
Bharti Airtel, the country's largest operator by revenue and subscribers, topped the rural user addition charts with a net addition of 11.43 million.
With a total of 96.18 million users, the New Delhi-based company garnered the maximum rural subscribers during the month. Circle-wise, Uttar Pradesh (East) topped the charts with 32.29 million users, according to data released
by Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI).
Idea Cellular ranked second in subscriber additions, with the operator adding 0.70 million users during the month under review.
The Aditya Birla group company had a total of 76.49 million users as of May-end, the data showed.
Vodafone India, the country's second-largest operator, came in third. The Mumbai-based company added 0.64 million rural users, taking its total user base to 90.33 million. Aircel added 0.22 million users, increasing its user base
to 25.69 million, while Uninor added 0.39 million, to touch a rural user base to 11.94 million.
Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had more subscribers from the rural areas than urban as of May-end, while for Bharti Airtel, Uninor and Aircel the maximum users were from urban locales.
Private operators had 89.44 per cent share of the rural telephony market, while BSNL accounted for the remaining 10.56 per cent.