Reliance Jio Officially Becomes the Second Largest Telecom Operator by Subscriber Base

Trai has released its report on subscription data as on May 2019 highlighting the number of subscribers, market share and more stats

  •  Reliance Jio emerged as the second top telco in terms of wireless market share
  • In combined wireless and wireline subscribers, Reliance Jio had the top market share

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) which publishes various reports on the telecom industry has now compiled the subscription data for the sector. The Trai report on subscriber base has noted that the total telephone subscribers in the country currently stands at 1185.15 million. Out of these total telephone subscribers, Trai noted, 1161.86 are wireless subscribers, whereas the rest of 21.29 million subscribers are wireline subscribers. Trai has also stated that in May 2019, the industry lost 0.62 million subscribers out of which 0.44 million were wireless subscribers and the rest 0.18 million were wireline subscribers. However, what’s even more interesting to note in the latest Trai report about the subscriber base is the market share pie of each telecom operator.


Decline in Total Wireless Subscribers

The Trai report has noted that the number of active wireless subscribers in May 2019 was 989.60 million. Total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & LTE) marginally declined from 1,162.30 million at the end of April 2019 to 1,161.86 million at the end of May 2019, thereby registering a monthly decline rate of 0.04%. Wireless subscription in rural areas declined from 509.95 million at the end of April 2019 to 505.59 million at the end of May 2019. However, wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 652.35 million at the end of April 2019 to 656.27 million at the end of May 19.

Reliance Jio Becomes Second Spot Telco  

As on May 31, 2019, the report highlighted, the private access service providers held 89.72% market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.28%. The Trai data also noted that Reliance Jio currently holds 27.80% of market share, thus ranking on the second spot, whereas Bharti Airtel boasts of having 27.58% of the market share. The current telecom leader, Vodafone Idea boasts of a total market share of 33.36%. BSNL, on the other hand, has been revealed to hold 9.98% of the market share.

12 Service Areas See Positive Growth in Subscribers

Trai also stated that by May 2019, out of the total wireless subscribers (1,161.86 million), 989.60 million wireless subscribers were active, which amounted for 85.17% of the total wireless subscriber base. Bharti Airtel had the maximum proportion (99.86%) of its active wireless subscribers on its network. The Trai report also reported about the growth of subscribers in various circles as well. Out of the total 22 service areas, 12 service areas showed positive growth in their wireless subscribers during the month of May 2019. North East service area showed maximum growth of 0.80% and West Bengal service area showed a maximum decline (1.53%) in their wireless subscriber during the month.

Reliance Jio Takes Lead in Total Broadband Subscriber  

When it came to the combined compilation for broadband services including wireless and wirelines subscribers, Reliance Jio had the lead with 55.54% market share. Bharti Airtel had the second position with 20.35% market share, Vodafone Idea had 18.75% market share. Lastly, BSNL boasted of 3.73%. As per the report, by May 31, 2019, the top five Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL (9.09 million), Bharti Airtel (2.39 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.44 million), Hathway Cable & Datacom (0.83 million) and MTNL (0.75 million) whereas the top five Wireless Broadband Service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (322.99 million), Bharti Airtel (115.95 million), Vodafone Idea (108.99 million), BSNL (12.57 million) and Tata Teleservices (1.49 million).

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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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JSRsaketAsishKrishEsmail Recent comment authors
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Well technically speaking airtel still has the second largest base of active subscribers compared to Jio which has around 268 million active subscribers.


Airtel subscribers will go down in upcoming months quiet exponentially. Mark my words. They dont have enough spectrum to fall back for 2G voice. Once subscribers feel problems with voice, they will shift to Jiophone/Jio sims. Airtel needs to buy aggressively spectrum in upcoming auction to stay in competition. Before band 3 validity comes to an end in 2021,Airtel must deploy blanket VoLTE on 700Mhz.


I don’t care what happens to airtel brother. They have their teams to think about what they are going to do to survive.
I am just saying Jio has a good number of inactive sims that they need to deactivate. All of my old sims from family and friends are still active even after being not used for the last year.
Most of my friends have shifted to Jio and are happy with the plans and service. Few of them are also enjoying airtel and Voda-Idea services. Overall everyone is happy with their services. Nothing else matters.


They purposely don’t deactivate inactive numbers since they want to boast of a higher subscriber market share, if they had deactivated they would still be at number 3 not number 2 that they are at today. Also they don’t incur any charge to allow incoming calls on non recharged numbers, rather they earn from the IUC however low it may be. Maybe from Jan 2020 once IUC is scrapped, Jio may gradually deactivate numbers to improve VLR percentage having gained a significant march over Airtel in subscriber share by then.


since VLR include roaming subsciber also.

Thus in case of AVOID, which allow to access other network, i mean airtel tamilnadu can able to acess idea punjab.

now when talking about airtel tamilnadu subsciber moving by road/train from chennai to amritsar, he will cross 5-6 states and thus it will improve VLR of idea.

secondly even avoid having significant inactive subsbiber.

True picture will come when Jio and avoid show exact umber of active subsbier. and ARPU formula is based on only Active subscibers.


Airtel has more spectrum than Jio, so if jio can manage airtel can also manage


how much total spectrum they both have.




“Wireless subscription in rural areas declined from 509.95 million at the end of April 2019 to 505.59 million at the end of May 2019. However, wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 652.35 million at the end of April 2019 to 656.27 million at the end of May 19.” Reason (I think) : in rural areas people are shifting from avoid to Jio, & dual SIM users are turning into single SIM user. Where as in urban areas Service is not being provided upto the mark or satisfaction so people are buying a secondary number and recharging both for emergency… Read more »

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