Bharti Airtel takes back the lead on active wireless users from Jio

Bharti Airtel

During November 2020, Bharti Airtel continued to add wireless users, gaining 4.4 million users, while rival Reliance Jio’s customer base grew by 1.9 million, according to data from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), whilst Vodafone lost 2.9 million customers.

Nonetheless, Jio remains India’s biggest telecom operator by market share at 35.34 percent; on the other hand, Vi’s market share shrunk to 25.10 percent.

As such, there are 1155.20 million wireless users, including inactive users in India as of 30 November 2020, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Despite having the largest market share in the wireless segment, Reliance Jio’s active subscribers were the lowest among the top three telcos. Of the total customers, Jio’s active subscriber base was at 79.55 percent as of 30 November.

However, Jio topped the wireless or mobile broadband segment with 408.29 million customers as of 30 November, while Airtel followed with 171.74 million users. Vi had 120.96 million mobile broadband users and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had 18.40 million.

“All service areas except West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kolkata, Jammu and Kashmir, and Mumbai showed growth in the number of wireless subscribers during November. Madhya Pradesh service area showed maximum growth of 1 percent in wireless customer base during the month,” TRAI said in a statement.

It is worth mentioning that Jio provides only 4G services, while Airtel and Vi have over 50 percent of their customers on 2G.

Some of the reasons behind that progress is settling and implementing plans in August 2020 that are considered cheaper and more efficient for long-term strategical planning.

Analysts stress that Vi’s continuous loss of subscribers is due to its weak network capabilities which many users complain about, as well as some speculation around its business continuity, given its massive outstanding adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

Airtel and Vi’s gross subscriber base fell by 1.12 million and 4.82 million respectively in June, dragging the country’s overall mobile user base lower by 3.2 million to 1.14 billion.