Reliance Jio, the latest entrant in the telecom sector in India, disrupted the market ever since its launch in 2016. But now, the momentum seems to have shifted away from this newest entrant in the sector. An analysis by Goldman Sachs Equity Research, suggests that it is the first time that Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel has added more (active) subscribers than Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio. A report in Hindu BusinessLine quoted a Goldman Sachs’ analysis as saying, “Jio added 0.4 million active subscribers in April, its fourth straight month of deceleration and with Jio starting to charge from April, we believe deceleration in subscriber additions is likely to continue.”
Reliance Jio had launched in September 2016 and kept offering free services like calling and 4G data to its subscribers until March this year. April was the first month which saw the network provider charging for data usage. According to the latest data from Trai, Jio added only around 3.9 million subscribers during April, which is its lowest since September. The Goldman Sachs report suggests that what the active subscriber data essentially means is that the network provider could have given out 3.9 million connections in April but 3.5 million of them were inactive.
While, Jio’s subscriber additions gained massive traction during the September-December 2016 period, barring November, the additions started losing steam since January 2017. In March, Jio’s subscriber addition stood at around 6 million, which is almost double of what the firm has added in April.
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It is the third consecutive month-on-month drop in subscriber additions for Jio. In the first month of its operations, September 2016, Jio added 16 million subscribers, which was followed by 19.6 million in October, 16.3 million in November and its highest subscriber addition so far of 20.3 million in December. The firm had added 18.5 million subscribers in January 2017 and 12.21 million in February. Its subscriber market share, however, rose to 9.58% in April compared to 9.29% in March 2017.
However, the good news for the Mukesh Ambani is that RJio has turned into India’s largest mobile broadband service provider with a subscriber base of 112.55 million. Jio is followed by Bharti at 52.25 million, Vodafone (39.76 million) and Idea (24.09 million).