New Delhi: With surge in demand of mobile services in the country, the companies have started returning their landline telephone licenses to the telecommunication department (DoT).

Witnessing a steep decline in the margin of the landline consumers, Bharti Telenet has returned its telephone licenses of five circles including Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Delhi and Tamil Nadu to the DoT, the sources in the department said.

It is assumed that due to less consumer margin in landline telephone services ,this step was taken up by the leading Telecom service provider in India. Sources have also held Bharti’s declining consumer rating as one of the reason for the decision.

In March 2011, Bharti’s consumer base has reduced from 32.95 lakh to 32.80 lakh. However, despite the reduction Bharti has maintained its share in the landline telephone services to 9.49 percent.

The recent data submitted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India shows that the number of landline customers in India is decreasing rapidly. The margin has reduced by 0.14 percent, i.e. from 3.48 crore consumers in February to 3.47 in March. Landline phone density has also reduced from 2.95 in December 2010 to 2.91 in March 2011.

Notably, the demand for mobile services has suddenly increased in the last decade thus lowering the share of landline services in the market. The effect is not only visible in urban markets but  in the rural areas also. Incidentally, the numbers of rural consumers have also reduced from 88 lakh to 86 lakh in March 2011.

(Agencies)