Home >Industry >Telecom >Vi adds users for 1st time since Oct ’19

NEW DELHI : Cash-strapped telecom company Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) added customers in January, the first time in 14 months, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data. The telco signed up 1.7 million subscribers during the month after losing 55.4 million wireless users since October 2019.

This could be a positive for VIL, as it has been in discussions with potential investors to raise capital since September. The telco is saddled with huge government debt and is still recovering from a tough tariff war with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

VIL’s efforts to improve its quality of services, retain existing users, and add new customers seem to have finally paid off. The development was unexpected and analysts said it is too early to say whether the company can sustain the momentum.

“If you compare with data of the previous month, Vodafone Idea has added subscribers only in the Uttar Pradesh (West) circle, while it has lost users in all other circles, which indicates that this could be a one-time gain," said a telecom analyst on the condition of anonymity.

Rival Bharti Airtel Ltd, however, led the gains in January, adding 5.9 million users, while Reliance Jio added 1.9 million customers.

Despite the growth in subscribers, VIL’s market share shrunk marginally to 24.58% as on 31 January, while Airtel’s share grew from 29.36% in December to 29.62% in January. Reliance Jio remained the market leader with 35.30% share.

“All service areas except Mumbai showed growth in their wireless subscribers during January. The Uttar Pradesh (West) service area showed the maximum growth of 6.45% in its wireless subscriber base during the month," Trai said.

Despite having the highest market share in the wireless segment, Reliance Jio’s active subscribers were the lowest among the top three telcos. Of its total userbase, only 79.01% was active. Vodafone Idea and Airtel’s active subscribers were at 89.63% and 97.44%, respectively, of their total customers.

Jio led the mobile broadband segment with 410.7 million subscribers, while Airtel was a distant second with 181.7 million users. Vodafone Idea had 122.7 million users and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had 18.9 million.

In the wired or fixed-line segment, total subscribers rose from 20.05 million in December to 20.08 million in January

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