State owned BSNL has always pitched that it is the only telco in rural India to escape criticism from different corners. However, in a recent release by COAI, the facts are entirely different. 75% of the rural wireless subscribers are on non-BSNL network. Only 24.7% are on BSNL.

  • Bharti Airtel has 22.2% market share of rural India.
  • Reliance Communications has 13.89% market share of rural India
  • Vodafone India has 22.1% and Idea Cellular has 8.5% market share of rural India

The share of rural mobile subscribers should continue to increase as operators are in a CAPEX mode to cover larger stretches. They have also sought some concessions with the IT & Finance ministry to lower the tariffs in rural areas to make the service more affordable.