Only Reliance Jio Added Active Users In July, TRAI Data Shows
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. was the only telecom service provider to add active users in July but still had fewer paying subscribers when compared to peers.
The telecom operator launched by Asia’s richest man added 40 lakh active users—a metric that matters more—on its network in July, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. That compares with 1 crore active subscribers added in June. Reliance Jio is now India’s second-largest telecom company by subscriber base.
A higher active subscriber base doesn’t necessarily mean better revenue. But it at least means that a customer is frequently using the service and the risk of losing that user is low.
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel Ltd. lost active subscribers for the ninth straight month in July. The number of users actively using its services declined by 36 lakh despite including the customers of Tata Teleservices Ltd., whose acquisition was completed by Airtel on July 1.
Airtel has lost more than 2.8 crore active users in the last nine months. That may be because the company started charging a minimum amount from users for staying active on its network.
Vodafone Idea Ltd., the nation’s biggest telecom operator by subscriber base, has more reasons to worry.
Not only did it lose active subscribers for the 15th month in a row, but also managed to add fewer high-paying users. The company’s active subscriber base declined by nearly 1.1 crore in July and 11 crore users over the 15-month period. That’s because of intense competition, deteriorating network quality, and the company’s plan to charge a minimum monthly amount from users, forcing them to opt for higher-priced packs.
Also, Vodafone Idea managed to add only 4 lakh broadband users—customers who predominantly use data and generate higher revenue—in July. Airtel added 24.5 lakh broadband users during the month on account of improved network, competitive plans and improved customer service.
The entry of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio in 2016 was a turning point in the world’s second-biggest telecom market. The upstart stormed in with free voice services for life and initially free data services to lure subscribers, prompting rivals to merge or quit the market.