The number of new subscribers in India’s fast-growing cell phone industry fell 25% over August due to a drop in prepaid connections, it was reported last week.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said the industry – believed to have the cheapest tariffs in the world – added just 359,990 new users in September compared to 480,307 the previous month.
In April, the Indian government, in a bid to widen its tax net and track possible misuse of cell phones by militants, said prepaid card users must provide proof of identity by September 30, and cell phone users must file income tax returns.
The COAI suspects one of the chief reasons for the fall is a wave of disconnections by prepaid subscribers who had not provided identity authentication to the government.
Despite the fall, the number of new subscribers surged over the year-ago period. At the end of September, the number of mobile phone users in India, a country of more than a billion people, rose 79% from the same month a year ago to 8.5 million.