The company, with operations in over 15 African countries, is reported to have over 250 million subscribers across South Asia and Africa, and experienced an annual growth of 13 percent as at June 2012.
The company came fourth after China Mobile, which has 683 million subscribers, Vodafone Group with 386 million connections and American Movil Group with 251 million connections.
Last year, Bharti Airtel was ranked fifth in the world after it acquired the then Zain’s operations in Africa.
“However, Bharti's US$3.04 billion in mobile revenue in Q2 2012 is significantly lower than the four other operators in the top five, reflecting Bharti's presence in the ultra low-cost, low-margin Indian and African markets,” the report said.
These subscriber figures may be higher, as the report categorically stated that the ‘Scoreboard’ tracks the top 20 global operator groups by connections based on majority owned assets in Q2 2012. Minority holdings (less than 50 percent plus one share) are excluded from the analysis.
MTN also emerged in the top 20 operators, coming in at number 11 in the world. MTN is reported to have over 136 million connections with revenue of US$3.85 billion. Last year, MTN came in at number 10, showing that it had dropped one position this year.
Chinese operators dominated the top ten positions of the survey findings, with each recording a double-digit subscriber growth in the last year. The operators include China Mobile (ranked number 1), China Unicom (number 6) and China Telecom (number 10).
China as a whole surpassed the one billion subscribers mark, with 1.047 billion subscribers as at June 2012.