The overall wireless subscriber base in the country continues to decline, primarily due to the clean up by Reliance Jio, which lost 3.67 million users in February. Apart from Jio, Vodafone Idea lost 1.53 million subscribers in the month while Bharti Airtel managed to add customers with 1.59 million new users joining its network.
As per data shared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the total wireless subscriber base declined to 1,141.53 million at the end of February as against 1,145.24 million at the end of January.
Although Jio has been losing subscribers overall, its active user base has been consistently rising due to the cleanup exercise. In February, the percentage of its active subscribers reached an all-time high of 94.01%. Vodafone Idea though lost active subscribers also during the month.
The decline in the overall wireless subscriber base is primarily because of the weeding out of non-active users from the network. For instance, over the last 6 months, till January, Jio has added 22 million active subscribers, due to which its active user share rose to 90.68% in January. In the same period, the company removed 59 million inactive subscribers from its network.
In terms of percentage of active subscribers, Bharti Airtel continues to lead with 98.08% followed by Reliance Jio with 94.01%, Vodafone Idea at 85.70% and BSNL at 52.47%.
In terms of wireless broadband or 4G subscribers, Jio lost 3.67 million subscribers while Bharti Airtel added 2.26 million subscribers and Vodafone Idea too added 860,000 users. In wireline broadband, Jio added 210,000 users followed by Bharti Airtel with 100,000 additions.
The mobile number portability (MNP) continues to be high with 9.16 million requests in February. The tariff hikes seem to have slowed down 4G subscriber additions, leading the telecom operators to poach from rival networks to boost their user base.
Since all the operators had hiked tariffs last year, there has been SIM consolidation with several users surrendering their second or third connection. Additionally, with changes in tariff packs, they have moved from one network to another depending on which one offers comparatively cheaper services to them as per their requirements.