Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released data as on September 30, and it suggests that Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost over 5 million subscribers in total in the month. Airtel and Vodafone continued to lose subscriber base, given the tough competition from Jio. Interestingly, BSNL has been adding new subscribers in this month, alongside Jio, who managed to add as many as 6.983 million subscribers in the month of September. Airtel lost over 2.384 million subscribers in this month, while Vodafone Idea lost over 2.576 million subscribers.
Airtel's subscriber base reduced to 325.567 million in September, from 327.952 million subscribers in August. This means Airtel lost a total of 2.384 million subscribers in that one month's time. Similarly, Vodafone Idea's subscriber base reduced to 372.486 million in September, from 375.063 million subscribers in August. Therefore, Vodafone Idea lost even more than Airtel – 2.576 million subscribers in a month.
Jio continued with its gains and climbed to 355.223 million subscribers in September, from 348.240 million subscribers in August. It managed to gain as many as 6.983 million subscribers in a month, more than the combined loss of Vodafone Idea and Airtel both. However, it was less than its August numbers wherein it saw massive gains of about 8.445 million subscribers. BSNL also saw an increase in subscriber base, albeit a marginal one, and climbed to 116.972 million subscribers in September from 116.234 million subscribers in August.
Vodafone Idea holds the biggest slice in the market currently, with 31.73 percent market share. Reliance Jio is fast catching up with 30.26 percent market share, followed by Airtel which now has 27.74 percent market share. Vodafone Idea and Airtel both are losing market share in a steadfast manner, as in August their market share was about 32.03 percent and 28.01 percent, respectively. BSNL is seeing a slow but steady increase from 9.93 percent market share in August to 9.97 percent market share in September.
According to TRAI's latest report for the month ending September 2019, the total number of telephone subscribers in India saw a monthly growth rate of 0.29 percent, and increased from 1,191.81 million at the end of August 2019 to 1,195.24 million at the end of September 2019.
Due to the current financial stress, Vodafone Idea and Airtel have both announced that they would be increasing the rates on their tariff plans from December onwards. With a decline in subscriber numbers, this move could further increase the toll on numbers for the telcos.