The number of telecom subscribers dwindled by 15.8 million to 1,185.88 million in November, even as Reliance Jio continued to lead in customer addition to reaching over 150 million subscribers, as per a report by TRAI. The decline was mainly on account of closure of mobile services by some of the operators including Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom), which lost over 25.7 million subscribers during the period. As per the report, the number of total mobile subscribers declined to 1,162.47 million from 1,178.2 million.
"The number of telephone subscribers in India declined from 1,201.72 million at the end of October 2017 to 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 1.32 percent," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a monthly subscriber report on Thursday. However, the loss in subscriber base was mitigated with new customer addition by Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, and BSNL.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio led the market by gaining over 6.1 million subscribers, taking its total customer base to 152.08 million (13.08 percent market share). Telecom major Bharti Airtel had the highest customer base of over 289.53 million (24.91 percent market share) but followed Jio in terms of new subscriber gains in November with a net addition of over 4.34 million customers. Idea added 3.198 million new customers, taking its base to 194.06 million (16.69 percent market share), while Vodafone added 2.70 million, taking its base to 211.02 million (18.15 percent market share). State-owned telecom operator BSNL, on the other hand, added 1.08 million, taking its base to 107.49 million (9.25 percent market share) by the end of November.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which merged with RCom recently and has been reporting numbers separately, also lost over 3.28 million subscribers. Tata Teleservices and Telenor, the companies that are in the process of merging with Airtel, lost 2.21 million and 1.25 million customers, respectively. Aircel and MTNL lost 0.67 million and 3,941 customers respectively.
Landline subscribers further declined to 23.41 million from 23.53 million during the period, the report said. The urban subscriber base declined to 684.89 million from 697.54 million and the number of rural customers dipped to 500.99 million from 504.19 million crores during the same period.
The number of broadband subscribers increased to 350.70 million from about 340.16 million.
"As on November 30, 2017, the top five wireless broadband service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm (152.08 million), Bharti Airtel (67.24 million), Vodafone (50.15 million), Idea Cellular (32.90 crore) and BSNL (11.94 million)," the report said.
BSNL led the market in the fixed broadband segment with 9.43 million customers. It was followed by Airtel with 2.14 million, Atria Convergence Technologies 1.27 million, MTNL 0.92 million, and Hathway Cable & Datacom with 0.69 million customers.
Written with inputs from PTI