Airtel pips Jio in mobile customer addition in October; India's telecom base rises to 1.17B

Airtel added 3.67 million new customers in October, and was followed by Reliance Jio, which added 2.22 million new mobile customers. Vodafone Idea, BSNL, MTNL, and Reliance Communications reported loss of subscriber base.
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India's telecom subscriber base grew to over 1.17 billion in October with Bharti Airtel maintaining its leadership in mobile subscriber addition, accounting for over 98 percent of total connections in the country, according to the monthly report released by sector regulator Trai on Wednesday.

This is the second consecutive month when Airtel added highest number of subscribers. In September, it had regained the leadership position in subscriber addition after a gap of four years.

The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company added 3.67 million new customers in October, taking its total wireless customer base to 330.28 million in October 2020, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) report said.

Airtel was followed by Reliance Jio, which added 2.22 million new mobile customers, taking its total subscriber base to 406.35 million during the reported month.

The other four mobile service providers, Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), BSNL, MTNL and Reliance Communications, reported loss of subscriber base.

VIL lost the maximum mobile customers during the month. The company lost 2.65 million subscribers, with its wireless subscriber base dipping to 292.83 million in October.

BSNL lost 10,208 customers, MTNL 7,307 customers, and Reliance Communications lost 1,488 mobile customers.

The overall telecom subscriber base in the country, however, increased to 1,171.8 million in October from 1,168.66 million in September 2020.

"Total wireless subscribers increased from 1,148.58 million at the end of September 2020 to 1,151.81 million at the end of October 2020," the report said.

Facebook became Jio's largest minority shareholder after a $5.7 billion investment

Hits and misses

The wireline subscriber base declined in October to 19.99 million from 20.08 million in September. The segment had recorded marginal growth in September.

In wireline segment, Reliance Jio added the most subscribers at 2,45,912. It was followed by Bharti Airtel which added 48,397 fixed line connections, VIL with 9,400 subscriber addition and Quadrant which added 5,198 customers.

State-run BSNL was the biggest loser of wireline customers in October. The company lost 1,76,408 customers. Reliance Communication, which is going through insolvency proceedings, lost 1,60,470 customers, Tata Teleservices lost 34,311 subscribers and MTNL lost 24,807 customers.

Broadband subscriber base in the country grew 1.17 percent to 734.82 million, with the wireless segment contributing close to 97 percent of total connections.

Mobile-based broadband subscriber base grew 1.15 percent to 712.67 million in October as compared to 704.57 million in September.

The top five service providers constituted 98.85 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of October 2020.

These service providers were Reliance Jio with 408.06 million broadband customers, Bharti Airtel with 170.23 million subscribers, VIL with a base of 120.5 million, BSNL with 25.87 million customers, and Atria Convergence with 1.74 million connections.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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