The number of mobile internet users declined for the second consecutive month in December, 2018.
At the end of December, the number of mobile phone-based internet connections declined by 4.7 lakh to 8.56 crore from 8.60 crore in November. The figure was 8.67 crore at the end of October.
Mobile phone-based internet connections constitute nearly 94 per cent of the country’s internet user base.
Officials of mobile phone operators said the government’s tight scrutiny of the social media along with blocking of a number of web sites before the December 30 national elections might be one of the key reasons for the fall in the number of active mobile internet users in last two months.
The government, after the announcement of schedule for the 11th parliamentary elections on November 8, blocked more than 100 web sites and almost all of them have remained blocked since then.
Besides, mobile phone internet services were suspended for several times for different spells before and after the polls to maintain law and order situation in the country.
The officials said that it was not possible for the mobile phone operators to carry out regular marketing activities after the announcement of election schedule that hindered customer acquisition.
Due to the fall in number of the mobile internet users, the number of internet users in the country dropped to 9.13 crore at the end of December last year from 9.18 crore in the previous month as the WiMax and broadband subscribers remained unchanged at 57.35 lakh and 61,000 respectively.
Besides the internet users, the number of active mobile phone subscribers also fell by 59,000 to 15.69 crore at the end of December as three mobile phone operators — Robi, Banglalink and state-owned Teletak — lost subscribers. Leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone, however, added users in December.
Robi lost 1.89 lakh, Banglalink 1.86 lakh and Teletalk 29,000 subscribers. Grameenphone added 3.46 lakh.
At the end of December, GP’s subscriber base stood at 7.27 crore.
The subscriber base of Robi stood at 4.69 crore, that of Banglalink 3.35 crore and that of Taletalk 38.54 lakh.
In November last year, country’s second largest mobile phone operator Robi lost 87,000 users and third largest operator Banglalink lost 1.05 lakh subscribers.
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