India’s telecom subscriber base dipped to 117.5 crore at the end of January with smaller operators losing bulk of their customers, as per monthly TRAI report released today. “The number of telephone subscribers in India declined from 1,190.67 million at the end of December 2017 to 1,175.01 million at the end of January 2018, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 1.32 per cent,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said.
The mobile subscriber base declined to 115.19 crore at the end of January 2018 from 116.74 crore at the end of December 2017, down 1.33 per cent. Large telecom operators jointly added over 1.26 crore new customers in January, of which 83 lakhs were added by Reliance Jio alone. The net addition of Bharti Airtel was over 15 lakh. It was followed by Vodafone which added 12.82 lakh new customers, Idea Cellular 11.44 lakh and BSNL 3.96 lakh new customers.
RCom, which closed its mobile phone calling services in December, lost 2.1 crore customers in January. Aircel, which has filed plea for bankruptcy, lost over 34 lakh customers. It was followed by Tata Teleservices which lost 19 lakh customers, Telenor – 16 lakh customers and state-run firm MTNL – 10,634 customers. The wireline telephone customer base declined to 2.3 crore at the end of January 2018 from 2.32 crore at the end of December 2017. State-run BSNL lost 1.15 lakh landline customers. It was followed by RCom which lost 41,720 wirelines customers, MTNL lost 10,907 customers, Quadrant – 2,765, Aircel – 2,219 and Tata Teleservices – 797. Bharti Airtel gained 5,925 new landline customers.
Broadband segment, however, witnessed growth in January. The number of broadband subscribers increased to 37.81 crore at the end of January this year, from 36.28 crore at the end of December 2017 a monthly growth rate of 4.2 per cent. Mobile broadband segment dominated the growth with 35.98 crore customers in January compared to 34.45 customers in December 2017. “Top five service providers constituted 94.52 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Jan-18. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (16.83 crore), Bharti Airtel (7.5 crore), Vodafone (5.48 crore), Idea Cellular (3.73 crore) and BSNL (2.18 crore),” the report said.