Home / Industry / Telecom /  Airtel adds 4.4 million subscribers in November; Vi loses 2.9 million

Bharti Airtel Ltd’s wireless subscriber addition continued in November, with the telecom operator gaining 4.4 million users during the month, while rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd's customer base grew by 1.9 million. Vodafone Idea Ltd (Vi) lost 2.9 million customers.

With this, Vi’s market share shrunk to 25.10%, while Airtel’s expanded to 28.97%. At 35.34%, Reliance Jio remains India's biggest telecom operator by market share, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data released on Thursday.

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“All service areas except West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kolkata, Jammu and Kashmir, and Mumbai showed growth in wireless subscribers during the November. Madhya Pradesh service area showed maximum growth of 1% in wireless customer base during the month," Trai said.

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% as of 30 November. Airtel and Vi’s active subscribers, or active users on a mobile network, were at 89.01% and 96.63%, respectively.

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

Mobile broadband users are customers using internet with download speeds of equal to or more than 512Kbps (kilo byte per second), implying that all customers on 4G wireless service fall under this category. Reliance Jio provides only 4G services.

More than 50% of Bharti Airtel and Vi’s customers are on 2G.

In the wireline or fixed-line segment, total subscribers increased from 19.99 million at the end of October to 20.07 million in November. Of this, state-owned BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) together hold 51.86% market share. After BSNL, Airtel has the second highest market share at 22.51% followed by Jio at 12.55%.

Reliance Jio has been adding customers in the wireline segment owing to the introduction of cheaper plans in August 2020. It added 195,637 customers in November and Airtel gained 54,499 users during the month. Both BSNL and MTNL lost 139,326 and 22,691 fixed-line customers in November, respectively.

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