Reliance Jio is officially the second-largest mobile operator of India
Ahead of its earnings call for Q1 2019-20 on Friday, Reliance Industries-owned Jio overtook Airtel to become India’s second-largest telecom operator at the end of May, an official data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revealed. Jio, which began its commercial services in the year 2016, added 8.2 million users since April, as of May, to garner a total base of 323 million wireless customers.
Airtel, which has slipped to the third position in terms of customer base, lost 14 million customers as of May while Vodafone Idea ended up losing 60.7 million customers at the same time. However, Vodafone Idea sits atop the hierarchy of the telecom market in India with a collective base of 387.6 million wireless customers at the end of May, as per TRAI data. Jio, on the other hand, added 8.2 million customers in one month, although with a marginal dip since March. Jio added 9.4 million users at the end of March, TRAI data showed.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries will announce its quarterly results on Friday, which is expected to shed some light on the growth Jio has seen over the course of three months. Since its commercial operations started in India, Reliance Jio has undercut Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and even cannibalised the business of other small but significant players, thanks to its rock-bottom bundles of data and voice.
Moreover, the TRAI data has shown that the overall wireless connections in India tanked marginally to 1,161.86 million as of May from 1,162.30 million from the previous month. The private mobile operations notched 89.72 per cent of the total wireless subscriber base while the government-run companies BSNL and MTNL secured a meagre 10.28 per cent market share, the data has revealed.
BSNL and MTNL are currently in dire straits over the paucity of funds to keep the business up and running. BSNL made headlines recently for defaulting the salaries of employees, owing to lacklustre profits and perpetual departure of customers. Later, the company was aided by the government in fulfilling the pending dues to the staff but the question of customer attrition is still looming, now bigger than ever.