Bharti Airtel didn’t have a great end to 2017 as the telco added just five lakh customers in December 2017 as per the data released by Trai. However, in January 2018, the company seems to be back on track as it managed to grab 1.5 million new subscribers during the month, and edged other operators marginally. Vodafone India has added 1.28 million new subscribers, followed by Idea Cellular with 1.14 new customers on board during the same period. Unfortunately, the COAI report didn’t reveal the numbers of Reliance Jio, and it still says 160 million subscribers as of December 2017.
COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) is the apex industry association representing the country’s major telecom operators. Also, as per the data released by COAI, India’s private telecom service providers have a total of 988.49 million subscribers. The data also includes the figures of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) by the end of December 2017 (Source: Trai).
Speaking of the individual companies, Bharti Airtel continues to hold the top position with 29.50% market share, and at the end of January, the overall subscriber base of Airtel became 291.61 million. Airtel is closely followed by Vodafone India, which ended January with 213.81 million subscribers, while Idea Cellular stood at 197.64 million subscribers at the end of the first month of the year. Idea Cellular is inching towards that 200 million mark, and it might happen in the next couple of months.
However, the major letdown here is Aircel’s numbers as the telco lost 3.5 million subscribers. Aircel is currently going through a lean phase due to the lack of funding. And in February 2018, Aircel will surely lose more than 5 million subscribers, thanks to the ongoing network related issues.
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 85.58 million subscribers, while Maharashtra remained at second position with a total of 81.56 million mobile subscribers.
After constantly losing subscribers for months, both Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are adding a good amount of subscribers in recent times. And in the last month, they edged out Airtel and added more subscribers than the leading telecom operators. Both Vodafone and Idea Cellular are proving excellent tariff plans to the subscribers in-line with Airtel and Jio.