Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel Lost Over 9.22 Million Subscribers During October 2018: Trai

Only two operators, Reliance Jio and state-run BSNL, gained new subscribers in October 2018, leading to a marginal growth in overall telecom user base to 1192 million, according to the Trai data. Reliance Jio and BSNL jointly added over 10.8 million new mobile phone customers, while rest of the operators — Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, MTNL and Reliance Communications — lost more than 10.1 crore customers. Vodafone Idea and Airtel both combinedly lost 9.22 million customers during the month, thus seeing a reduction in overall subscriber base. The losses for November and December are expected to be even more as both the telcos removed talk time recharges and introduced minimum recharge scheme for prepaid users.


Jio Alone Added Over 10 Million Subscribers

Reliance Jio continues its strong subscriber addition as the telco added over 10 million subscribers, which took its overall subscriber base to over 263 million. To recall, Jio reported a subscriber base of 252 million at the end of September 2018, and in October 2018, it added 10 million more. According to the Trai data, Jio has a market share of 22.46% at the end of October, while that of Airtel’s dipped to 29.2% from 29.39%.

“Virtual Network Operator (VNO) of BSNL has started reporting of its subscribers in the month of October 2018 and the same has been included in the subscriber number of BSNL,” the report of Trai.

Vodafone Idea Lost 7.36 Million Subscribers

The newly merged Vodafone Idea continues to struggle as the telco reported a massive subscriber loss in October 2018. Vodafone Idea lost a whopping 7.36 million users and it currently has a market share of 36.55%, which is down from the earlier 37.2%. Coming to other operators, Airtel lost 1.86 million users, Tata Teleservices lost 0.9 million, 8.068 subscribers left MTNL network. And finally, RCom had lost 3,831 customers.

Big telcos like Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are expected to suffer the loss of subscribers even more during November and December months. The exact data is awaited, but Trai might release the data of Q4 2018 by the end of January 2019.

Mobile Telephony Dominates Indian Telecom Market

Mobile telephony dominates Indian telecom market with 98% market share. The number of telephone subscribers in the country increased to 1192 million in October from 1191.4 million in September, according to subscriber data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). Mobile phone segment grew to 1170 million in October from 1169.2 million in September while the wireline subscribers base declined to 22 million from 22.1 million during the period under review.

The decline in wireline base was mainly due to BSNL which lost 85,200 fixed line customers, followed by RCom (14,120), MTNL (8,684), Tata Teleservices (3,398) and Quadrant (3092). Bharti and Vodafone gained 16,340 and 8,894 wireline customers respectively in October.

The number of broadband customers of 306 service providers increased by around 3% to 496.1 million in October from 481.7 million in September 2018. Top five service providers constituted 98.42% market share of the total broadband subscribers in October.

“These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (262.7 million), Bharti Airtel (101.3 million), Vodafone Idea (101.3 million), BSNL (20.3 million) and Tata Tele Group (2.5 million),” the report said.

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121 Comments on "Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel Lost Over 9.22 Million Subscribers During October 2018: Trai"


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Thamilan daa
January 6, 2019 11:10 am 11:10 AM

4G video calls are possible from jio to jio.

But why not using the airtel 4G VoLTE network?.

January 4, 2019 8:11 am 8:11 AM

This could increase more than they expect in moth of November and December because of antl consumer tariffs and plans starting Rs. 25 by Vodafone Idea and airtel. Meanwhile BSNL will be the top gainer under secondary choice. I am 100% sure

Thamilan daa
January 4, 2019 8:06 am 8:06 AM

Chetan and Esmail :

In vodafone own 3G, BSNL 3G and airtel 3G, can you able to use the mobile data (http download) without any reduction in the speed while on normal voice call?.

Kaushik IMA
January 4, 2019 12:06 pm 12:06 PM

As far as I have been able to see, the answer is YES. But after 4G launch, Airtel 3G speed has become very, very poor even in rural areas of MPCG. There is a very drastic latency and speed difference between Airtel 3G and 4G, and generally the voice call load will add some latency due to prioritization protocols.

Even in Mumbai, experience is same – Airtel 3G poor, 4G excellent. Based on my limited experience, I would not use Airtel if I am having a 3G phone.

Thamilan daa
January 6, 2019 11:06 am 11:06 AM

Kaushik IMA :

Airtel 3G is like 2G. That is the data gets stopped when you make a normal voice call during data session in the 3G network.

Vodafone 3G is allowing data usage during voice call.

I think the difference between the normal voice call made using the 3G network and the 4G VoLTE network is very less to similar.

An illiterate mumbai cycle is posting against 3G here.

Kaushik IMA
January 6, 2019 3:01 pm 3:01 PM


I understood you. What I observed is data does not stop in case of voice calls in airtel 3G but a lot of latency gets added leading to very slow page loads. You might feel it has stopped but it has not. At least here in Maharashtra, MPCG and Mumbai That’s the case.

I don’t mind 3G, the voice clarity on 3G is good and data speeds not too bad (just don’t use Airtel on 3G).

But if 4G can get same coverage with volte then let it take that spectrum….

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
January 5, 2019 2:17 pm 2:17 PM

Airtel 3G and Vodafone 3G will be closed by year end. There is no place for 3G in 2019. It needs to be shut down. It’s interesting to see what BSNL do with 5Mhz of Band 1 spectrum. I hope they return band 5/41/3 spectrum before next auction happens.

Thamilan daa
January 6, 2019 11:11 am 11:11 AM

Cycle :

As if 2019 has not arrived !!!

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
January 6, 2019 8:00 pm 8:00 PM

By the end of 2019.

Mudassar | Mumbai
January 4, 2019 4:59 pm 4:59 PM

I confirm the last para.

AU(Airtel User)
January 4, 2019 1:20 pm 1:20 PM

Here comes VIL clown kaushik ima LoL, thamiln da is not even asking you. kya despo clown h kaushik ima, pity on him.

Kaushik IMA
January 6, 2019 3:04 pm 3:04 PM


as you can clearly see no one liked your unnecessary interference here.

You are already on TT radar, better to keep your ego inside your head and your pants too.

Hope you are visiting the psychiatrist regularly. Best wishes for your health.

Kaushik IMA
January 6, 2019 3:02 pm 3:02 PM

Too bad AU

You got refuted in your own comment.

Next time, keep your ego inside and know your place.

Do not pollute the forum with nonsense comments: you are already on TT radar.

Thamilan daa
January 6, 2019 11:07 am 11:07 AM

AU : Please do not interfere or pull me into the ego between you and kaushik.

Kaushik IMA
January 4, 2019 10:43 pm 10:43 PM

Lol AU,

stop going crazy and see no one cares what you have to say. Now please return to your job (u remember u admitted what you really do for a living?)

January 4, 2019 7:09 pm 7:09 PM

Get some life

Chetan | Bengaluru
January 4, 2019 10:40 am 10:40 AM

Good question!!!! I will think about it…