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.