Traffic Brigade personnel sit at a booth in Surat, Gujarat, India. (Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg)

Reliance Jio, BSNL Drive Telecom Subscriber Growth To 120.5 Crore In February

The country's telecom subscriber base grew marginally to 120.5 crore on account of a net addition of customers by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., according to data published by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Both Reliance Jio and BSNL jointly added a net of 86.39 lakh mobile subscribers but the rest of the telecom operators jointly lost a net of 69.93 lakh wireless customers with Vodafone Idea Ltd. losing the biggest chunk of mobile connections, as per the data.

The number of telecom subscribers in India increased to 120.54 crore at the end of February from 120.37 crore in January, according to the Telecom Monthly Subscriber Report released by TRAI.

The sector, dominated by wireless connection, recorded an increase in the mobile services subscriber base to 118.36 crore in February from 118.19 crore in January.

Reliance Jio alone added 77.93 lakh customers, taking its total subscriber base to 29.7 crore at the end of February.

BSNL added around 9 lakh new mobile customers, taking its total subscriber base to 11.62 crore in February.

"BSNL is the only operator other than Jio that has gained customers. Our performance shows that customers have faith in BSNL,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said.

We are able to compete and gain customers with our much-improved 3G network.
Anupam Shrivastava, CMD, BSNL

The state-run firm is competing in the market with 3G network, while all other operators are loaded with spectrum for 4G services. It has requested the government for the allocation of spectrum for 4G services. The government is yet to take a final decision.

The country's biggest telecom operator Vodafone Idea lost 57.87 lakh mobile subscribers, reducing its total customer base to 40.93 crore in February. It was followed by Tata Teleservices Ltd. that lost 11.47 lakh mobile customers, Bharti Airtel Ltd. lost 49,896 subscribers, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. 4,652 and Reliance Communications Ltd. 3,611 subscribers.

Fixed-line connections in the country declined marginally with BSNL losing about one lakh connections. Private operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone gained 42,456 and 17,563 fixed-line customers, respectively, in February.

Broadband Market Dynamics

The broadband subscriber base in the country grew 1.89 percent to over 55 crore from 54 crore during the period.

The wireless broadband connections dominated the segment with 53.1 subscribers in February.

Reliance Jio led the market with 29.72 crore broadband customers. It was followed by Bharti Airtel with 11.21 crore customers, Vodafone Idea with 11 crore, BSNL with 2.1 crore and Tata Teleservices Group with 21.7 lakh broadband subscribers.

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