India's Telecom Circles / Service Areas

For a variety of purposes, India's telephony regulators have divided the country up into a number of regions, called 'Telecom Circles' or 'Telecom Service Areas'.

You will see reference to these telecom circles in various situations. For example: when looking for telephone numbers or telephone directories you will generally need to search by telecom circle. Or when reviewing telephone service plans and coverage areas for the telephone companies, you will see these may vary by telecom circle.

Also, if a telephone company wants to operate in a specific telecom circle, they must purchase a license for that circle, usually through an auction process.

At present, there are 22 Telecom Circles or Service Areas. They are broken down into 4 groups: 'metro circles' and then 'A', 'B', and 'C' circles.

The 'metro' circles cover very dense population centers in the very largest Indian cities: Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

The 'A', 'B', and 'C' circles cover various geographic territories of varying population sizes. 'A' circles are the largest in terms of population coverage. 'C' circles contain the smallest population.

The borders of the circles roughly correspond to the borders of the Indian states -- but there are exceptions. For instance, some smaller states are folded into larger neighboring states, some other smaller states are combined together to form one circle, etc.

Note that as of a July, 2007 memo from the India Department of Telecommunications, 'telecom circles' are now officially called 'telecom service areas'. Nevertheless, the terminology 'telecom circles' is still widely used.

India's Telecom Circles / Telecom Service Areas

Here is a list of India's 22 telecom circles, including Metro, A, B, and C category service areas. Officially, telecom circles are now called telecom 'service areas', but both terms used to mean the same thing.

The circles listed below are the officially recognized circles as stated by the India Department of Telecommunications. India telephone companies may or may not conform to this exact usage.

India Telecom Circles

-- click headers to sort by column --

Telecom Circlesort iconCircle TypePopulation Covered
lAndhra Pradesh Telecom Circle c r6.2
lAssam Telecom Circle c r6.7
lBihar Telecom Circle c r09.9
lDelhi Metro Telecom Circle cetro r8.6
lGujarat Telecom Circle c r1
lHaryana Telecom Circle c r1.1
lHimachal Pradesh Telecom Circle c r.1
lJammu & Kashmir Telecom Circle c r0.1
lKarnataka Telecom Circle c r2.9
lKerala Telecom Circle c r1.9
lKolkata Metro Telecom Circle cetro r5.4
lMadhya Pradesh Telecom Circle c r1.2
lMaharashtra Telecom Circle c r6.9
lMumbai Metro Telecom Circle cetro r1.3
lNortheast Telecom Circle c r1.7
lOrissa Telecom Circle c r6.8
lPunjab Telecom Circle c r5.3
lRajasthan Telecom Circle c r6.5
lTamil Nadu Telecom Circle* c r3.4
lUttar Pradesh (East) Telecom Circle c r01.6
lUttar Pradesh (West) Telecom Circle c r3.1
lWest Bengal Telecom Circle c r5.7

Population coverage is estimated in Millions.

* The Tamil Nadu circle now includes the Chennai Metro Circle. Until 2007, the Chennai Metro Circle was broken out separately.

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Coverage Areas for India's Telecom Circles

The coverage of India's 22 telecom circles mostly corresponds to the borders of the India states. However, there are numerous and varying types of exceptions.

The listings below break out the coverage areas for each telecom circle showing areas that are both included and excluded from the circle.

Metro Circles

'Metro' circles are broken out only for the countries 3 largest cities. Until fairly recently, there were actually 4 metro circles, including a 4th for Chennai. But then a few years ago, the Chennai metro was merged into the Tamil Nadu telecom circle, leaving the current 3.

  • Delhi
  • Includes:

    • National Capital Region
    • Local areas served by Delhi, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, and Gurgaon telephone exchanges

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Kolkata
  • Includes:

    • Local areas served by Mumbai, New Mumbai, and Kalyan telephone exchanges

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Mumbai
  • Includes:

    • Local areas served by Calcutta Telephones, including Navi Mumbai, Kalyan

    Excludes:

    • n/a

Chennai Metro used to be a fourth Metro Circle, but it was folded into Tamil Nadu Circle in 2007. Nonetheless, the Chennai Metro is still often referred to and data continues to be tracked on it's performance.

A Circles

'A' circles cover areas that contain one or more very large cities, e.g., Bangalore in Karnataka, Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Andhra Pradesh

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Gujarat
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Gujarat
    • Daman & Diu
    • Dadra & Nagar Haveli, including Silvassa

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Karnataka
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Karnataka

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Maharashtra
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Maharashtra
    • Entire state of Goa

    Excludes:

    • Mumbai Metro Service Area
  • Tamil Nadu*
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Tamil Nadu
    • Territory of Pondicherry

    Excludes:

    • n/a

* Tamil Nadu telecom circle now includes the Chennai Metro area which used to be a separate standalone telecom circle. That said, Chennai Metro Telecom Circle continues to be used as a subcircle within Tamil Nadu. When used, it refers to the areas served by Chennai Telephones, the Maraimalai Nagar Export Promotion Zone (MPEZ), and the Minzur and Mahabalipuram Exchanges

B Circles

'B' circles cover areas that contain mid-sized urban areas and larger towns.

  • Haryana
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Haryana

    Excludes:

    • Panchkula town
    • Areas served by the Faridabad and Gurgaon Telephone exchanges
  • Kerala
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Kerala
    • Territory of Lakshadweep, including Minicoy

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Madhya Pradesh
    • Entire state of Chhattisgarh

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Punjab
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Punjab
    • Territory of Chandigarh
    • Panchkula town, Haryana state

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Rajasthan
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Rajasthan

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Uttar Pradesh (East)
  • Includes:

    • Entire eastern part of Uttar Pradesh state bounded by the districts of Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Kanpur and Jalaun

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Uttar Pradesh (West)
  • Includes:

    • Entire western part of Uttar Pradesh state bounded by the districts of Pilibhit, Bareilly, Badaun, Etah, Mainpuri, and Etawah
    • Entire state of Uttarakhand

    Excludes:

    • Local exchanges of Ghaziabad and Noida
  • West Bengal
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of West Bengal
    • Entire of Sikkim
    • Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

    Excludes:

    • Areas covered by the Kolkata Metro Service Area

C Circles

'C' circles cover areas that are largely rural.

  • Assam
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Assam

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Bihar
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Bihar
    • Entire state of Jarkland

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Himachal Pradesh

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Jammu & Kashmir
    • Autonomous region of Ladakh

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Northeast
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Arunachal Pradesh
    • States of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura

    Excludes:

    • n/a
  • Orissa
  • Includes:

    • Entire state of Orissa

    Excludes:

    • n/a


---------------------

Source: India Department of Telecommunications (pdf)

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Maps of India's Telecom Circles

Here are several maps of India's telecom circles from authoritative sources.

India Telecom Circles Map - Vodafone Essar

India telecom circles map

Source: Vodafone Essar

India Telecom Circles Map - BSNL

India telecom circles map

Source: BSNL

India Telecom Circles Map - Light Reading Asia

India telecom circles map

Source: Light Reading Asia - A Guide to India's Telecom Market

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Telecom Circles Abbreviations

Abbreviations are commonly used to refer to India's telecom circles.

Most often the official ISO or UN location code for the state or city is used, but other variations are also fairly common:

Telecom Circle Abbreviations

-- click headers to sort by column --

Circlesort iconAbbrAltType
lAndhra Pradesh Telecom Circle cP cc
lAssam Telecom Circle cS cc
lBihar Telecom Circle cR cc
lChennai Metro Telecom Circle cAA cH, TN (MAA) cetro
lDelhi Metro Telecom Circle cEL cL, ND, NCR cetro
lGujarat Telecom Circle cJ cc
lHaryana Telecom Circle cR cA c
lHimachal Pradesh Telecom Circle cP cc
lJammu & Kashmir Telecom Circle cK cc
lKarnataka Telecom Circle cA cT c
lKerala Telecom Circle cL cE c
lKolkata Metro Telecom Circle cCU cO cetro
lMadhya Pradesh Telecom Circle cP cc
lMaharashtra Telecom Circle cH cc
lMumbai Metro Telecom Circle cOM cU, BY cetro
lNortheast Telecom Circle cE cc
lOrissa Telecom Circle cR cc
lPunjab Telecom Circle cB cc
lRajasthan Telecom Circle cJ cc
lTamil Nadu Telecom Circle cN cc
lUttar Pradesh (East) Telecom Circle cPE cE c
lUttar Pradesh (West) Telecom Circle cPW cW c
lWest Bengal Telecom Circle cB cc

Note: The Chennai Metro is technically no longer a separate telecom circle having been folded into the Tamil Nadu Circle in 2007. However, it is still often referred to.

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Additional Telecom Circles Information

For more information on India's telecom circles / service areas, please visit these sources:

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India telephone companies
India telecom industry

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