The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017 to 1,190.67 million at the end of December 2017, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.4%. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017 to 1,190.67 million at the end of December 2017, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.4%. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Telecom subscribers in India reach 1.19 billion in December 2017: Trai

The growth in telecom subscriber base was led by the mobile segment,with net additions of 4.97 million customers by Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Airtel and BSNL during the month

New Delhi: Telecom subscriber base in India reached 1.19 billion at the end of December 2017 with Reliance Jio adding over 8 million new customers alone during the month, according to data published by telecom regulator Trai.

“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017 to 1,190.67 million at the end of December 2017, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.4%," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a monthly subscribers’ report.

The growth was led by the mobile telephony segment with net additions of 4.97 million customers by five telecom operators Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and BSNL during the month. Reliance Jio led the growth in mobile segment by adding over 8 million new customers—three fold more than it closest competitor Idea which added 2.43 million subscribers in the reported month.

Idea was followed by Vodafone which added 1.5 million new mobile subscribers, Airtel 576,575 and BSNL added 421,836 subscribers. Telecom operator Aircel lost over 2.65 million customers, Reliance Communications (RCom) 2.3 million, Telenor 1.71 million, Tata Teleservices 1.3 million and MTNL lost 6,561 mobile customers.

Despite closure of mobile services, RCom was left with over 33.16 million customers.

Trai has asked RCom to refund unspent money of customers who have not been able to port their number or exhaust their balance.

The subscriber base in wireline segment declined to 23.23 million at the end of December from 23.41 million at the end of November 2017. BSNL, which dominates the market with 53.5% market share, lost 127,842 fixed line customers while private operators Tata Teleservices added 8,294 new connections, Vodafone added 7,625 and Bharti Airtel added 5,995 new fixed-line customers in December.

The number of broadband subscribers increased to 362.87 million at the end of December from 350.7 million in November. “Top five service providers constituted 93.8% market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of December 2017. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (160.09 million), Bharti Airtel (71.09 million), Vodafone (52.44 million), Idea Cellular (34.81 million) and BSNL (21.95 million)," the report said.

Mobile devices accounted for 344.57 million subscribers in December. The top-five wired broadband service providers in December were BSNL (9.38 million), Bharti Airtel (2.15 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.28 million), MTNL (0.91 million) and Hathway Cable & Datacom (0.73 million). The overall tele-density in India increased to 91.90 at the end of December from 91.61 at the end of November 2017.

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