India’s total mobile subscriber base fell by 0.52 million in November, continuing its decline for the third straight month, according to data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The total mobile user base was at 1.1430 billion at the end of November, compared to 1.1435 billion in October.
Trai also revised the total mobile users data of October, taking into consideration an addtional loss of 73,198 subscribers in the Tamil Nadu region from the BSNL virtual network operators (VNO) subscribers.
In September, the total mobile subscriber base fell for the first time in six months. The churn in November was led by users in rural areas, where the subscription fell by 2 million to 516.45 million. However, urban subscriber base rose by 1.4 million to 626.6 million. The reason for the fall in subscriber base can largely be attributed to the SIM card consolidation owing to inflationary pressures, according to analysts. SIM card consolidation refers to reduction in mobile network connections by consumers owing to issues such as affordability of tariffs.
As per the Trai data, barring Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kolkata, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, North East, Haryana, and Kerala, all other service areas have showed decline rate in their wireless subscribers during the month.
The fall in total subscriber base was largely contributed by Vodafone Idea, which lost 1.83 million subscribers during the month. In October, the beleaguered telecom operator had lost 3.51 million subscribers. The company has been losing subscribers for 20 months now.
Comparatively, India’s largest telecom operator by market share Reliance Jio has topped the wireless subscribers’ additions for the eight straight month. In November, the telecom operator added 1.43 million new wireless subscribers on a net basis, compared to 1.06 million new users added by peer Bharti Airtel, Trai data showed.
Compared to last month, the growth in wireless users for both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio has improved in November, and the reason for that can be attributed to weakening position of Vodafone Idea.
As of November-end, Reliance Jio has a wireless subscribers’ market share of 36.99%, up from 36.85% in October. The company’s total wireless subscribers rose to 422.8 million. In comparison, Bharti Airtel’s market share rose to 32.03% from 31.92% in October, whereas Vodafone Idea’s share in the wireless subscribers segment fell to 21.33% from 21.48% in October.
The wireless subscribers’ base of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea was at 366.08 million and 243.79 million, respectively at the end of November. Bharti Airtel added the subscribers for the 13th straight month. State-owned BSNL lost wireless subscribers for the 11th straight month. In November, the company lost 1.18 million wireless subscribers, highest in 11 months. BSNL’s total subscriber base as of November-end was at 107.51 million.
In the wireline segment, Jio continues to take the lead. The operator added 0.21 million subscribers, followed by Bharti Airtel at 0.13 million. As of November-end, Jio’s total wireline subscribers’ base was at 8.1 million, whereas that of Airtel was at 6.6 million.
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BSNL continues to lose the subscribers in the wireline segment. In November, the company lost 3,021 subscribers, taking its total base to 7.09 million.
According to Trai, in the month of November, 12.02 million subscribers submitted their requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP). “The cumulative MNP requests increased from 759.92 million at the end of October-22 to 771.94 million at the end of November-22, since implementation of MNP,” the regulator said.
The total number of active mobile users in India fell by 4.53 million in November after rising continuously for the three straight months. Of the total 1.143 billion wireless subscribers, 1.012 billion or 88.56% were active, according to the peak visitor location register, which shows the number of active subscribers, including those roaming on a mobile operator’s network.
During the month, Reliance Jio’s active users fell by nearly 3 million to 388 million. The company’s visitor location register fell to 91.77% from 92.79% in October.
Bharti Airtel remained at top with the highest visitor location register subscribers among the telecom players at 98.06%. The company’s active subscribers’ base rose by 0.96 million, taking its total active subscribers’ base to of 358.98 million as of November-end.
Vodafone Idea’s active subscribers fell for the eight straight month in November. The company’s active subscriber base fell by over 2 million to 209.7 million in November.
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The wireless broadband subscribers in the country rose by 3.37 million in November, taking the tally to 792.47 million. The wireless broadband users largely include those on the 4G network. Bharti Airtel added 2.15 million wireless broadband users in November, taking its subscriber base to 225 million. Vodafone Idea added 0.11 million wireless broadband users in November, taking its subscribers base to 123.47 million.