Airtel acquired 4.05 million wireless subscribers against Jio’s 0.47 million while battling Vodafone-Idea once again lost almost 5.7 million users in December, as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data delivered on Thursday.
Bharti Airtel adds maximum numbers of wireless users 5th times successfully in a row which is more than market leader Reliance Jio.
Airtel added 4.05 million wireless subscribers in December to take its base to 338.70 million, followed by Reliance Jio, which added 478,917 subscribers to take its base to 408.77 million.
With solid additions, Airtel has also narrowed the gap with market pioneer Reliance Jio, which has seen its subscriber additions slowing down. Reliance Jio’s wireless market share stood at 35.43% in December, followed by Airtel at 29.36%. Vodafone-Idea continues to lose subscribers, losing 5.69 million users in December. Its all-round user base has declined to 284.25 million in the reported period.
State-run BSNL, too, lost 253,330 subscribers in December and its base stood at 118.61 million.
In estimates of wireless users (4G), Jio’s base stood at 408.77 million, followed by Airtel 179.19 million, Vodafone-Idea at 120.77 million.
The competition to get 4G users is heating up as mobile operators try to add and upgrade more users. Currently, there are around 300 million 2G users, primarily on the networks of Airtel, BSNL, and Vodafone Idea, who are up for grabs. There were reports about Jio coming out with a low-cost smartphone but so far, no further details have come. Airtel is upgrading many of its 2G users to 4G by offering lucrative tariff plans. Airtel in a recent analyst call said that it added 14.2 million 4G users in the October-December period.
“There are upgrades from our own 2G base. There is movement from competitors, a little bit of porting that happens and there is some set of customers who are also coming new into the category,” Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel had said.
Vodafone Idea, which has been frequently losing 2G customers, also lost about 190,000 wireless broadband users in December.
As there is so much customer movement, the MNP requests have also been frequently high for the past few months. The MNP requests stood at 8.20 million in December. Analysts feel that the increased number indicates that customers are fast-changing operators in a bid to get a better deal.
In terms of wireline broadband subscribers, Reliance Jio has been adding the maximum number of users, primarily due to the rollout of its fiber connectivity across the country. Jio added around 200,000 wireline broadband users in December followed by 80,000 of Airtel. BSNL lost 30,000 wireline broadband users. As of December, the wireline broadband base of BSNL stood at 7.70 million, followed by 2.81 million of Airtel, 2.07 million of Reliance Jio, and 1.78 million of ACT.
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