Airtel gains subscribers in September as older rivals lose out
New Delhi: Among five incumbent private mobile operators, only Bharti Airtel added new subscribers in September, while the rest lost more than 29 lakh customers, as per the data released on Monday by industry body COAI.
Airtel added over 10 lakh or a million customers in September, which reduced the net loss of joint subscriber base of the five telecom operators (others being Idea, Vodafone, Aircel and Telenor) to 19.3 lakh, as per the report on the subscriber base of GSM players. The report did not include subscriber base statuses of Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, BSNL and MTNL for September.
Telenor, which is in the process of merger with Airtel, lost 9.37 lakh subscribers. Idea lost 9.04 lakh customers. It was followed by Vodafone, which lost seven lakh customers and Aircel, which lost 3.94 lakh customers. Kerala and Haryana led in the growth percentage of new additions with 0.69% and 0.37% respectively, followed by Gujarat with 0.14%, in September.
“The increase of subscribers in Kerala, Haryana and Gujarat shows that there is still room for basic services to grow and expand to the corners of the country,” COAI director general Rajan S. Mathews said in a statement. “The steady investment in infrastructure in these regions is showing positive result. The industry is reeling under a cumulative debt of over Rs4.6 lakh crore. The industry further needs an additional investment of over Rs2.5 lakh crore for infrastructure roll-out and expansion,” he said.
Bharti Airtel continues to hold the top position, with a 29.8% market share— a subscriber base of 28.2 crore.