The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) last week shared its latest report detailing the mobile subscribers in India for the month ending September 2018. The report claims that India's private telecom service providers have a combined total of 1017.71 million or about 1.017 billion subscribers, which is about 9.05 million lower than the number from last month. Additionally, Bharti Airtel continued to hold the top position in the market with a total of 343.52 million subscribers, while Reliance Jio came a distant second with 239.23 million subscribers. This could also be because Reliance Jio's numbers are from TRAI from August 2018, as per the statement released by COAI. Combined though, Vodafone Idea led the pack.
The detailed report from COAI for September 2018 also shows circle-wise numbers. UP (East) emerged as the biggest telecom circle in the country with a total of 87.53 million subscribers, while Maharashtra circle clocked in 84.7 million. As for type of circle, the report claimed a total of 410 million subscribers in Type B circles, compared to 346.9 million in Type and 106.1 million in metro circles. COAI notes that the figures do not factor in the subscriber base of BSNL, MTNL, Tata, and Reliance Communications.
With a strong market share of 33.75 percent, Airtel lost about 2.3 million subscribers compared to August 2018, decline of about 0.68 percent. Reliance Jio came second with a 23.51 percent share. More recent figures however come from Reliance Jio itself, which revealed last month that its total number of subscribers hit 252.3 at the end of September - thus it saw an addition of roughly 13 million subscribers from TRAI's August figures in the month of September. Vodafone saw a slight 2.6 million subscriber decline to finish third at 21.8 percent share, and Idea Cellular lost a substantial 4 million subscribers to reach a market share of about 20.94 percent.
However, after the Vodafone-Idea merger back in August this year, the combined telecom giant now has a market share of about 42.74 percent, taking it to the highest in the country. The subscriber base, according to COAI, stands at a total of over 434 million.
COAI recommends that the telecom industry undergo an intervention to encourage policy and regulatory stability, and facilitate growth, innovation, and investment in the sector.
“The telecom industry is an enabler of comprehensive growth and an empowered society, where every individual gets a chance to partake in the economic growth of the country. The industry has ensured that Government's Digital India programme reaches the farthest corners of the country and everyone reaps the benefit of new communication technologies, " said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI. "All the operators are committed to their customers with the services across the country, and have begun heavily diversifying their services beyond voice & data for the consumer.”