Even as Reliance Jio subscriber base increased by nearly 6 million in September 2017, the country’s overall telecom user base dipped by 2.9 million. According to data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the churn can be attributed to the 2.38 million wireless connections in urban areas going off the grid. It should also be pointed out that there were several thousand disconnections in rural wireless and wireline networks. In fact, there were only three operators that added subscribers in September across India – Jio, BSNL and Airtel.
The TRAI data shows there were 40,000 urban wireline disconnections, and 420,000 and 30,000 disconnections in rural wireless and wireline networks, respectively. The country’s total subscriber base as of September 2017 stands at 1.206 billion, with 1.183 billion wireless subscribers and 23.67 million wireline consumers. There were 5.49 million MNP (mobile number portability) requests across the country, and the total number of requests has finally crossed 300 million since the facility was rolled out in in 2010.
Airtel is the country’s largest mobile service provider with 282.02 million users and 23.84 percent market share, followed by Vodafone (207.37 million, 17.53 percent) and Idea Cellular (190.1 million, 16.07 percent). On the fourth and fifth positions are Jio and BSNL with 138.6 million and 11.72 percent share, and 105.76 million users and 8.94 percent share, respectively.
As for wireline subscriber base, there was a net decline of 0.10 million users in September, going down from 23.77 million to 23.67 million. BSNL is the market leader in wireline telecom segment with 54.06 percent market share. It is followed by Airtel (16.49 percent) and MTNL (14.38 percent).
Coming to broadband Internet access – which TRAI defines as wireless and wireline networks delivering speeds of 512kbps or above – 324.89 million people in the country had access to high-speed Internet in September. This represents a 2.66 percent increase in the same figure in the preceding month, up from 316.48 million. Of this 324.89 million, 306.39 million used broadband speeds on mobile devices (phones and dongles). On the back of its 4G-only network, Reliance Jio is the market leader in delivering broadband speeds and accounts for 138.6 million of these users and 42.67 percent market share. Airtel (62.29 million, 19.17 percent), Vodafone (45.98 million, 14.15 percent) and Idea (29.61 million, 9.12 percent) take the next three spots in this ranking.