The number of telecom subscribers dwindled by 1.58 crore to 118.5 crore in November, even as Reliance Jio continued to lead in customer addition with over 15 crore subscribers, as per a report by Trai. “The number of telephone subscribers in India declined from 1,201.72 million at the end of October 2017 to 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 1.32 per cent,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a monthly subscriber report today. The decline was mainly on account of closure of mobile services by some of the operators including Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom), which lost over 2.57 crore subscribers during the period. As per the report, the number of total mobile subscribers declined to 116.24 crore from 117.82 crore. However, the loss in subscriber base was mitigated with new customer addition by Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone and BSNL. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio led the market by gaining over 61 lakh subscribers, taking its total customer base to 15.2 crore.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel had the highest customer base of over 28.95 crore, but followed Jio in terms of new subscriber gain in November with net addition of over 43 lakh customers. Idea added 31.98 lakh new customers, Vodafone 27 lakh and state-run BSNL 10.8 lakh. Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which merged with RCom recently and has been reporting numbers separately, also lost over 32 lakh customers. Tata Teleservices and Telenor, the companies that are in the process of merging with Airtel, lost 22 lakh and 12.45 lakh customers, respectively.
Aircel and MTNL lost 6.65 lakh and 3,941 customers respectively. Landline subscribers further declined to 2.34 crore from 2.35 crore during the period, the report said. The urban subscriber base declined to 68.48 crore from 69.75 crore and the number of rural customers dipped to 50 crore from 50.41 crore during the same period.
The number of broadband subscribers increased to 35 crore from about 34 crore. “As on November 30, 2017, the top five wireless broadband service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm (15.2 crore), Bharti Airtel (6.72 crore), Vodafone (5 crore), Idea Cellular (3.29 crore) and BSNL (1.19 crore),” the report said. BSNL led the market in fixed broadband segment with 94.3 lakh customers. It was followed by Airtel with 21.4 lakh, Atria Convergence Technologies 12.7 lakh, MTNL 9.2 lakh and Hathway Cable & Datacom with 6.9 lakh customers.