Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Lost Over 5 Million Subscribers Together in September: Trai Data

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today revealed 'Telecom Subscription Data as on September 30, 2019.' Going by the latest report, the total number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,191.81 million at the end of August 2019 to 1,195.24 million at the end of September 2019, showing a monthly growth rate of 0.29%. During the same month, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea combinedly lost over five million subscribers whereas Reliance Jio added nearly seven million new users. State-run telco BSNL continues to add new users, but in a very small number compared to Reliance Jio. But yes, it's not losing subscribers like Airtel or Vodafone Idea which will come as a relief to the telco.

Reliance Jio Adds Nearly Seven Million New Users in September

Reliance Jio continues its aggressive subscriber addition as the telco managed to grab 6,983,146 new users in September 2019. Jio' subscriber base already crossed 350 million and it's on the course of reaching 400 million by the end of this financial year. Having said that, Reliance Jio added the least number of subscribers in September 2019 compared to the earlier months where its average subscriber addition every month was over eight million. Reliance Jio must have added more than ten million new users in October alone because of the introduction of discount offer on original JioPhone. For the unaware, Reliance Jio offered the JioPhone at just Rs 699.

But in mid-October, the telco came up with IUC Top-Up vouchers and also started charging customers for non-Jio voice calls. Some Jio customers already ported out to other networks like Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL. At the end of September 2019, Reliance Jio has a market share of 30.26%, slightly behind Vodafone Idea' share of 31.73%.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Subscriber Base Decline Continues

If Reliance Jio is adding subscribers every month, the situation is quite the opposite for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as they are losing subscribers every month. In September 2019, Bharti Airtel lost 2.4 million users and Vodafone Idea subscriber base saw a decline by 2.5 million. Overall, both the telcos reported subscriber losses of five million which is not at all a good sign for them. Airtel's market share is already down to 27.74%, but the telco stated it's not going after subscriber number, instead, it wants to focus on revenue generating customers.

Telcos to Increase Tariffs Next Month

In other news, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea confirmed that they would increase the tariffs next month to sustain in the market and come out of financial troubles. The decision from Airtel and Vodafone Idea will not surprise many, but Jio's decision to raise tariff prices left customers puzzled because it's the reason behind the Indian telecom sector's current financial woes. According to our sources, state-run telco BSNL is also considering the tariff prices hike to sustain in the market.

Customers may dislike the tariff price hike, but telcos are left with no choice right now. Reliance Jio says it will focus on providing quality service in the coming days by raising the tariffs. If telcos concentrate on delivering better service after the price hike, it will be a great move. We're expecting the tariff plans to receive a hike of at least 40% and there's no news regarding floor pricing being implemented by Trai.

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Managing Editor

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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