Idea Cellular seems to be giving stiff competition to rivals in the current calendar year in terms of customer acquisition, with the country’s third-largest telecom operator topping the subscriber addition charts for three months in a row till April, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) data shows.
As per COAI, Idea topped the charts by adding 4.4 million, 9.1 million and 5.6 million subscribers during February, March and April this year, respectively.
The additions are the highest among the top three incumbents. In comparison, Bharti Airtel added 4.2 million, 8.4 million and 4.5 million subscribers during the same three months. Vodafone India added 4.2 million and 8.4 million during February and March, respectively, but lost 0.7 million subscribers during April. Although the Aditya Birla Group company trailed Bharti and Vodafone in subscriber addition in January, the gap was marginal. Bharti added 1.5 million during the month, while Vodafone added 1.3 million and Idea 1.1 million.
If the total customer acquisitions for the first four months in 2018 are considered, Idea emerges as the winner among the top three incumbents. The company added 20.2 million subscribers against Bharti’s 18.6 million and Vodafone’s 9.5 million. COAI does not provide subscriber data for Reliance Jio, which has been ruling the subscriber addition charts for the past 12 months.
As per Trai data, Jio added 8.3 million subscribers in January 2018, 8.7 million (February) and 9.4 million (March). Its subscriber addition numbers for April are yet to be announced. Overall during April, Bharti continued to hold the top position with total subscribers reaching 308.6 million, followed by Vodafone at 222.03 million and Idea at 216.76 million. As of April 2018, Bharti has a market share of 29.41%, Vodafone (21.15%) and Idea (20.65%).
Idea and Vodafone are in the final stages of merging their operations, post which the combined entity will be the country’s largest telecom services provider, beating Bharti. In terms of circles, UP (East) continued at the top with a total of 91.07 million subscribers, while Maharashtra remained second with a total addition of 84.26 million mobile subscribers in April.