For Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and others, the growth numbers have slowed down in terms of new user additions.
Ever since Reliance Jio launched its services in September 2016, other incumbent telecom providers have been fighting it out to sustain their subscribers. While Jio saw a huge surge in customers of its network because of its freebies, companies like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and others saw a slowdown. These telecom operators have seen their subscriber addition decelerating on a month on month basis in the April September period, according to Cellular Operators Association data. Recently, Reliance Jio had made its services paid, and it coincides with the new decelerating trend in subscriber addition.
When it comes to the five incumbent private mobile operators, just Bharti Airtel managed to add new subscribers in September. Meanwhile, the other companies lost more than 29 lakh customers. Bharti Airtel added more than 10 lakh or a million customers in September which reduced the net loss of joint subscriber base of the five telecom operators (others being Idea, Vodafone, Aircel and Telenor) to 19.3 lakh, as per the report on the subscriber base of GSM players. Airtel had added 2.85 million subscribers in April which went down in May to 2.05 million and further down to 0.6 million in June, and 0.2 million in August. However, it bounced back in September.
Meanwhile, Vodafone which had added 0.76 million subscribers in April rose to 1.13 million in May. However, ever since then the numbers have declined. The report did not include subscriber base status of Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, BSNL and MTNL for September.
Meanwhile, Idea Cellular lost 9.04 lakh customers. Notably, Kerala and Haryana led in the growth percentage of new additions with 0.69 percent and 0.37 percent respectively, followed by Gujarat with 0.14 percent in September.
In terms of subscriber base, Bharti Airtel continues to hold the top position with 28.2 crore users and 29.8 per cent market share. It was followed by Vodafone and Idea with 20.74 crore and 19 crore subscribers respectively at the end of September.