Bharti Airtel added 4.3 million subscribers in the month while Vodafone and Idea added 2.7 million and 3.2 million subscribers, respectively.
After several months of lacklustre performance, telecom operators finally got their acts together in November by adding 8.3 million subscribers, recording the industry’s highest subscriber addition so far for the calendar year 2017, according to the latest COAI data. Also, the top three operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — clocked their highest additions during the month. The industry had added 5.2 million in January, 2.3 million in February, 5.7 million in March, 2.3 million in April, 2 million in June and 3.1 million in October. While the country’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, added 4.3 million subscribers in November, Vodafone and Idea added 2.7 million and 3.2 million subscribers, respectively. Analysts attribute the spike in November to the proliferation of unlimited voice plans (bundled plans), which has enabled SIM consolidation, as it negates the need to keep multiple SIMs in order to take advantage of price plans for making calls. This trend, they say, should accelerate in coming months, with the increasing shift towards unlimited plans and smaller players (generally used as second SIM) either getting consolidated or shutting networks.
October, too, was a good month for the industry as it had registered a growth in subscriber additions after three consecutive months of decline. During July, August and September, the industry lost 3.8 million, 6.4 million and 2 million subscribers, respectively. The total subscriber count as of November 2017 stood at 975.40 million. Bharti continues to hold the pole position with 29.68% market share and a total subscriber count of 289.54 million, followed by Vodafone, which ended the month with 211.03 million subscribers and a market share of 21.63%. Idea stood third with 194.07 million subscribers and a market share of 19.90%.