Bharti Airtel Gains an Upper Hand on Reliance Jio by Adding More Broadband Subscribers in a Month

Bharti Airtel, for the first time since the coming of Reliance Jio, has added more subscribers in a month as compared to the Mukesh Ambani led telco

Highlights
  • Bharti Airtel added one crore broadband subscribers in January month, where Reliance Jio was left behind by a small margin
  • Reliance Jio's second position was also due to reduced JioPhone sales

For the first time since the commencement of operations of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Bharti Airtel has added more subscribers than the former. As per a Bloomberg Quint report, this was the first time that Bharti Airtel managed to add more mobile broadband subscribers than Reliance Jio ever since the start of its operations in September 2016. The Sunil Bharti Mittal led telecom operator added nearly one crore mobile broadband users as opposed to Reliance Jio’s 93.2 lakh subscribers. The data comes from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which is responsible for regulating the telecom industry in India.

Airtel Adds One Crore Subscribers in January

This stat comes as a good sign for Bharti Airtel which had seen its average revenue per user (ARPU) erode by over 45% when Reliance Jio has started operations in the country. In its climb back from the trenches back to an active player in the field, the telecom operator is already on the task of cutting down non-paying customers. It is also worth noting that mobile broadband users are high revenue generating customers for the telcos as voice has already gone free in the country. To recall, when Reliance Jio made its entry into the market it introduced free data offerings for the subscribers, thus eroding revenues from the industry and forcing smaller telcos to make exits and bigger ones towards consolidation. However, now that wave has subsided, and Airtel is already on the path of recovery as its moves are expected to show results in the present quarter.

Reliance Jio Sees Lower JioPhone Sales

Trai also revealed that the active user base of the telecom market saw a fall with almost 39 lakh users ditching out for the second consecutive month. However, even with those figures, Reliance Jio added the most number of active subscribers overall, albeit on a slower pace owing to lower JioPhone sales. The operator added 63.2 lakh active users in January, which was its lowest figure since the last seven months. Bharti Airtel lost 45.6 lakh subscribers, and Vodafone Idea lost 62.1 lakh subscribers due to the introduction of minimum recharge plans.

It is also worth noting that the subscriber loss was the highest for Bharti Airtel in the last 28 months. Because of minimum recharge plans and deteriorating network quality, Vodafone Idea has lost around 3.5 crore users in total until now, as per Aliasgar Shakir, a telecom analyst with Motilal Oswal.??Speaking of market share, Vodafone Idea’s saw a decline, and it came to 37.6% whereas, Reliance Jio’s market share rose to 23.5%. Bharti Airtel also lost market share, and it made up for 32.4% of the market.

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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