Free ISPs take the lead in major Indian cities

DQW Bureau
New Update

Free is free! Everybody is interested in free stuff.

Internet connections are not an exception. ISPs providing free dial-up access

have managed to make a mark in India, by overtaking big ISPs like VSNL  and

Mantra Online in their own backyards.


Going by the latest subscriber data collated by

Department of Telecom (DoT) till 31 December 2000, the free ISPs lead in three

out of the four metropolitan areas in India and in the Silicon valley of India,

Bangalore, as well. the Calcutta-based ISP is the leader in Mumbai,

Calcutta, and Bangalore while of Jain Internet leads in Delhi.

In Mumbai, Caltiger had a subscriber base of 161,110 as

compared to VSNL's 160,645, Satyam Infoway's 54,453, and Dishnet's 37,045.

Caltiger's subscriber base of 58,606 in Bangalore was ahead of VSNL's 46,110,

Satyam Infoway's 28,836, Mantra Online's 19,605, and Sigma Online's 16,100.

Calcutta has won hands down by Caltiger once again with a subscriber base of

97,405 as compared to 44,837 of VSNL, 16,400 of Sigma Online, and 15,129 of

Satyam Infoway.

In the capital city Delhi, it was the turn of the

less-heard to overtake reputed giants like Mantra Online and VSNL. 

Here, with a subscriber base of 82,000 lead the field comprising,

among others, Mantra Online, VSNL, and Satyam Online which had respective

subscriber bases of 81,505, 78,584, and 67,312.


Chennai was in effect the last bastion not yet stormed

by the free ISPs. Dishnet was the market leader here, with a subscriber base of 

122,312, followed by VSNL with 62,528. Here too, free-specialist Caltiger was

fast catching up with a subscriber base of 46,873.

Though it may not be fair to directly compare the free

ISPs' subscriber base with the paid subscriber base of the regular ISPs, the

tremendous growth of the free ISPs points to the intensity of the competition in

the Indian market and the price-sensitivity of Indian customers.

Shyamanuja Das and Nareshchandra Laishram