BSNL Adding Subscribers Despite No 4G Network But Losing Wired Broadband Customers

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently released monthly subscription data for the month of November 2019, in which BSNL is said to have added more than three lakh new telecom users

  • BSNL subscriber base at the end of November 2019 stands at 117.6 million
  • Besides Reliance Jio, BSNL is the only telco adding subscribers since 2016
  • The state-run telco is losing wired broadband subscribers though

Apart from Reliance Jio in the Indian telecom market, the only operator to add new subscribers over the last three years was state-run BSNL. Thanks to the aggressive approach, Reliance Jio added more than five million new users every month since its launch, which made it the leading telecom operator in just 3.5 years. Coming back to BSNL, it has been adding at least one lakh new users every month over the last three years, despite lacking 4G services. The reason behind this could be the affordable tariff plans and cheaper mobile tariffs available on the network. But the telecom operator is constantly losing wired broadband users every month due to increasing competition in the segment. BSNL’s wired broadband subscriber base used to be over 10 million, but as per the latest Trai subscription data, the subscriber base has been reduced to 8.51 million.

BSNL Adding Telecom Subscribers Every Month Regularly

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently released monthly subscription data for the month of November 2019. In the month, Trai reported 341,722 new users have been added by BSNL, which took its overall telecom market share to 10.19%. The total number of telecom subscriber base at the end of November 30, 2019, stood at 1154.39 million, out of which BSNL has 10.19% of market share. This essentially means the telco has an overall subscriber base of 117.6 million. In the month of December 2019, BSNL could have crossed 120 million user base due to the increase in prepaid tariffs by private telcos.

During the same month, Reliance Jio added 5.6 million new users, followed by Bharti Airtel with 1.6 million new subscribers. Vodafone Idea lost a whopping 36.4 million users, which drastically reduced the telco’ subscriber base and overall telecom subscriber base.

BSNL adding new subscribers every month will surely come as a surprise considering the telco has no 4G services on offer right now. BSNL’ subscriber base started to see a major increase after the introduction of minimum recharge scheme from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Even after the latest tariff revision, Reliance Jio has the upper hand in the data tariffs segment, but the telco’s limitation of off-net voice calls is not inspiring confidence. As a result, Jio customers are moving to either BSNL or Bharti Airtel network.

Alongside the affordable 3G mobile tariffs, BSNL also runs limited period offers, extra data offer and so on every now and then to keep the users attracted.

BSNL Wired Broadband User Base Dips

In the wireless segment, BSNL is adding new users every month, but what about the wireline segment where the ISP has been an undisputed leader for more than ten years now? Well, BSNL is losing the charm in the wired broadband segment thanks to the intense competition in the segment. In November 2019, BSNL lost 1.64 lakh broadband subscribers which brought down its overall wired broadband subscriber base to 8.51 million. The number used to hover around 12 million, but the competition in the broadband sector has intensified over the last two-three years with private ISPs offering up to 1 Gbps speeds in various parts of the country.

BSNL is still the leading wired broadband operator in India with a market share of 46.21%, followed by Bharti Airtel with 20.24%. MTNL is third on the list with 14.78% share. The lukewarm JioFiber plans aren’t helping the service provider as expected as it managed to have just 4.81% market share at the end of November 2019.

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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I believe BSNL struggles in competition because it is 2 years behind its competitors. BSNL should have rolled out PAN India 4g in 2019 itself and focus on Volte and Vowifi.
As for fixed line broadband, there are still many rural areas where BSNL is the only option to choose.


Any How subscriber addition for BSNL will also get reduced , due to its recent reduction of Validity extension only plans like Minutes , Seconds and Vasantham and Nesam Gold(TN and Chennai circle). Many of the new customer addition for BSNL has no impact on revenue from customers. At present BSNL is aiming an Average ARPU of 30 from these customers compared to AVOID minimum ARPU of 45. Another news is that , BSNL announced the extn of validity of PLAN equal to validity STV. For example if you are Tamil Nadu circle customer with Base plan validity till 31st… Read more »

JIO , Airtel
Himanshu sharma

it means if i have no plan can i recharge with stv? is it available in MP circle


i don’t have exact things on other circle. But in TN its will work. Now Plan validity will made equal to STV Validity when the plan expires , if STV validity greater than Plan Validity(On which STV it will work we need to check with customer care). And You need to recharge/ have an STV before a plan expiry. Once plan got expired with no STV , you have to recharge with PLAN voucher.


my family had 6 BSNL connection and all now ported out because of this .


All operators are in a target to make their numbers on their network with minimum revenue. So keeping a number only for incoming permanently is not possible(At present it is possible if you have a Dual VoLte Handset with JIO sim. But JIO will also take of free incoming when Zero IUC regime came into effect). At present BSNL is providing benefits + validity extn plans like 365 plan. Its better than just paying 585 a year for just incoming in AVOID(Applicable only for those who uses AVOID or BSNL as incoming only sim). Use the benefits for 2 months… Read more »


This is circle specific. In Kar circle Rs 19 will be cut for 30 days post gp-1 and no such provision of using stv validity.
Bsnl quietly increased PVs from 36 to 75 and now halved validity from 180 to 90 days ensuring ARPU is min. Re 1 per day.


Even though check with your circle Customer Care. As per the info i received its there in many circles.


Bsnl CC staff are worst and always outdated by years. Better to check their official news site.
BSNL Kar has withdrawn using main balance for many popular plans like Rs 98, Rs 18 etc. Now STV DATA98 , STV VOICE18
don’t work. This is sneaky way to earn more revenue by making users spend.


This 19 rs deduction is available in TN Circle too . Its to the customers who don’t have active STV’s but have main balance. But the above what is said is to users who have STV which is more than base plan. 19 will be deducted on last day of GP-1 if you have main balance. But when you have STV , Validity got extended to the STV validity before entering GP1. Understanding BSNL plans and T&C are some times confusing . But those who use it for long time will able to understand it.


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