India’s telecom subscriber base crossed the 1.1 billion mark in October, registering highest customer addition of around 29 million in a month, driven by Reliance Jio.
As per the latest data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), October also saw increase in landline subscriber base that had seen continuous decline in connections after incoming calls were made free in 2003, shifting growth from wireline to wireless telephony.
“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,074.24 million at the end of September 2016 to 1,102.94 million at the end of October 2016, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 2.67 per cent,” Trai said in a monthly report.
Such high customer addition was earlier seen in February 2011 when the subscriber base increased to 826.25 million from 806.13 million in January 2011. The growth in October 2016 was led by mobile telephony, which saw addition of record 28.68 million customers in a month.
“Total mobile subscriber base increased to 1,078.42 million at the end of October 2016 from 1,049.74 million at the end of September 2016 , thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 2.73 per cent,” Trai report said.
The new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm added 19.63 million alone in October taking its total subscriber base to 35.61 million. It was followed by Idea Cellular which added 6.33 million mobile customers during the reported month.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel added 2.32 million new customers, state-run BSNL – 1.18 million, Vodafone – 1.17 million, Telenor – 406,865, Aircel – 203,182, MTNL – 7,725 and Quadrant (Videocon) – 3,007. Tata Teleservices lost 1.35 million mobile customers, Reliance Communications 992,901 and Sistema Shyam 258,555 customers in October.
The growth in wireline segment was led by state-run public sector firm MTNL firm which added 25,307 new connections. “Wireline subscriber base increased from 24.49 million at the end of September 2016 to 24.52 million at the end of October 2016. Net addition in the wireline subscriber base was 0.02 million with a monthly growth rate of 0.10 per cent,” Trai said.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone too added 11,032 and 6,175 new customers. BSNL, however, lost 14,564 landline customers, Tata Teleservices – 2,594, Sistema Shyam – 650, Quadrant – 503 and RCom – 79.
The number of broadband subscribers increased to 218.42 million at the end of October, as against 192.30 million in the previous month – up 13.59 per cent. Top five service providers constituted 80.36 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers in October.
In October, 4.92 million requests were made for mobile number portability taking the total number of requests to 244.3 million at the end of October 31, 2016.