After a disappointing January 2018, Bharti Airtel is back on track in February as the telco managed to add 4.1 million new subscribers during the month. As per the data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), India’s private telecom service providers have a total of 999.33 million subscribers, including the subscriber base of Reliance Jio as of December 2017. The top three Indian telecom operators- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, managed to add 11.7 million (Vodafone- 3.2 million, Idea Cellular- 4.4 million) new subscribers during February 2018. Struggling telecom operator Telenor lost over one million subscribers, and the data didn’t include that of Aircel’s numbers.
Amongst the individual telecom companies, Bharti Airtel continues to hold the top position with 29.50% market share and all over customer base of 295.79 million users. Vodafone is second on the list with 217.06 million subscribers, while Idea Cellular’ subscriber base finally crossed 200 million and settled in at 202.06 million. To be noted, Idea Cellular added the most number of subscribers 4.4 million during the month of February, followed by Airtel and Vodafone.
The report, which also provides mobile subscriber numbers for individual circles, showed that the UP (East) circle remained at the top with a total of 86.74 million subscribers, while Maharashtra remained at second position with a total of 81.56 million mobile subscribers.
So overall, the top five telecom operators in the country now have over 100 million subscribers under their belt. It will be interesting to see Reliance Jio’ subscriber base at this point as the telco reported a staggering 160 million subscribers in just 16 months since the start of the operations. Jio is currently adding more subscribers with the help of the affordable Reliance JioPhone.
By the end of April, Trai will be releasing its subscriber additions report for the entire first quarter of 2018, which will reveal Reliance Jio’s numbers. However, before that itself, the company might reveal the numbers if it crosses 200 million mark.
Also, these new additions from telecom operators don’t come as a surprise because of the recent financial struggles of small telecom operator Aircel. All the top five telcos are receiving MNP applications from Aircel customers in a massive number. In mid-February, Aircel faced network outage in several parts of the country, which resulted in users moving out of the network.