Interestingly, during this period, incumbents like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost rural subscribers and market share.
On the back of its cheap, 4G-enabled feature phone — JioPhone — Reliance Jio, which initially had large presence only in urban areas, has slowly made inroads into the rural areas. In the last one year, its rural subscriber base has increased to 128 million from 62 million, giving it a market share in rural areas at 25.05% against 12.14% a year back.
Interestingly, during this period, incumbents like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost rural subscribers and market share. While Vodafone Idea lost 39.57 million subscribers in rural areas, Bharti Airtel lost 28.53 million. The reasons for the surge of JioPhone in rural areas could be — apart from being 4G-enabled — could also be the minimum Rs 35 per month recharge plan launched by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. This may have led to a large number of their 2G users moving to a Jio connection. Currently, Jio has further reduced the price of JioPhone to Rs 699 from Rs 1,500 earlier and analysts believe that this will further push the sales of the device.