Reliance Jio added the over 91 lac wireless subscribers in October, 2019, taking its total subscriber base to close to 36.43 crores in India. Jio was followed by BSNL, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. As per data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), BSNL added more than 2.8 lac subscriber in the month, while Vodafone Idea and Airtel added over 1.8 lac and 8,1974 subscribers respectively.
Reliance Jio registered the highest 2.56 per cent monthly growth rate. At the end of October, 2019, the subscriber base of BSNL was recorded at more than 11.72 crores with a monthly growth rate of 0.25 per cent from September, 2019. The total subscriber base of Vodafone Idea was 37.26 crores with 0.05 per cent monthly growth rate, while that of Bharti Airtel was 32.56 crores (0.03 per cent monthly growth rate) respectively.
Jio added subscribers despite the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) by the company, which was announced in early October. Under IUC, Jio will charge 6 paisa per minute on all outgoing calls made to Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s networks. Later in December, telecom companies including Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea implemented higher tariff.
Interestingly, the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) requests rose to 461.73 million at the end of October, 2019 as 4.08 million subscribers submitted their MNP requests. The requests increased from 457.65 million at the end of September, 2019. In December, TRAI revised MNP rules making it easier than ever for user to port their mobile number. The process will now take up to five working days, which was 15 days previously.
Towards the end of the year in December, we saw quite a few changes in the telecom sector with the biggest being the rise in tariff by telecom operators. Given MNP rules have also been further simplified by TRAI, it would be interesting to see how it affects subscriber base of various companies.
TRAI noted that the total mobile phone subscribers in India rose to 118.34 crores, out of which more than 96 lac subscribers were added in October, 2019. “Total wireless subscribers (2G, 3G & 4G) increased from 1,173.75 million at the end of Sep-19 to 1,183.40 million at the end of Oct-19, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.82 per cent,” TRAI said in its press release.
The monthly growth rate of rural wireless subscription was more (1.15 per cent) than urban (0.57 per cent) as wireless subscription in rural areas grew from 514.56 million at the end of September, 2019 to 520.48 million at the end of October, 2019. For urban areas, it increased from 659.18 million to 662.92 million at the end of October, 2019.