To get a perspective, Vodafone Idea has lost more subscribers in 19 months than the overall wireless user base of state-run BSNL.
In a span of less than two years, Vodafone Idea has lost 116.13 million subscribers, relegating the company to the number three position with a user base of 325 million. During the same period, Reliance Jio strengthened its user base and Bharti Airtel managed to retain its market share. To get a perspective, Vodafone Idea has lost more subscribers in 19 months than the overall wireless user base of state-run BSNL.
According to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), BSNL’s wireless subscriber base stood at 113.58 million at the end of August 2018. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had merged on August 31, 2018 and the combined subscriber base of the merged entity stood at 441.65 million. During the same time, the subscriber base of Bharti Airtel was 345.88 million while that of Reliance Jio was 239.23 million. As on August 2018, Vodafone Idea was market leader with 37.85% share, followed by Airtel with 29.64% and Reliance Jio at 20.50%. BSNL’s wireless share was 9.73%.
But after 19 months, the market dynamics have changed completely. As in February 2020, Reliance Jio has amassed a wireless market share of 32.99%, followed by Airtel at 28.35% and Vodafone Idea’s 28.05%. BSNL’s share increased to 10.32%. In February 2020, Reliance Jio added 6.25 million wireless subscribers to increase its base to 382.82 million while Airtel added 922,946 users to take its overall base to 329.07 million. Vodafone Idea lost 3.46 million subscribers and its base in February stood at 325.52 million. BSNL too added 439,318 subscribers increasing its base to 119.68 million at the end of February.
Vodafone Idea has been lagging in adding wireless broadband users too. The company has 118.23 million broadband users, which is the lowest in the industry. In contrast, Jio has 382.83 million broadband users as the telco is a pure play 4G operator while Airtel has 143.65 million wireless broadband users as on February 2020.