File photo of Reliance Jio.

Reliance Jio Adds 13 Times More Users Than Rivals In July

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. added the most users in 17 months in July, staying ahead of rivals in subscriber addition amid consolidation in the industry.

Reliance Jio added close to 1.17 crore subscribers in July, according to the latest data provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. That compares with the combined addition of 9.27 lakh by Bharti Airtel Ltd., Idea Cellular Ltd. and Vodafone India Ltd.

The massive subscriber addition coincides with the ‘Jio Monsoon Hungama’ offer launched on July 20. It allows customers to exchange old feature phones of any brand for a new JioPhone at an effective entry cost of Rs 501—provided the old phone is not more than three-and-a-half years old, and is not a CDMA or an operator-locked device.

The surge in new users comes as rivals Idea Cellular and Vodafone India completed their merger, stemming from consolidation driven in the world’s second-largest telecom market driven by Reliance Jio’s cheap data war.

Billionaire Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Airtel added a little more than 3 lakh subscribers in July, while Vodafone Idea Ltd. added close to 6.1 lakh users.

Reliance Jio, which now controls nearly a fifth of the mobile subscriber base in India, was the only one to gain market share during the month. Other larger operators witnessed a decline.

Reliance Jio Adds 13 Times More Users Than Rivals In July

The newest telecom operator’s traction among rural subscribers continued to increase. Of the new additions, nearly 49 percent were rural subscribers. And Reliance Jio’s 58 lakh new rural users were the highest among peers. The share of rural subscribers has been rising for India’s newest telecom operator, largely driven by lower tariffs and low-cost 4G-enabled JioPhone.

In terms of active users, again Reliance Jio was the only one to add subscribers, while its rivals reported a decline. While active subscribers don't necessarily mean higher revenue-generating users, the metric indicates that there’s a low risk of losing such a customer who frequently uses the network.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s active subscriber base dropped by almost 9 lakh and 29 lakh, respectively. For Reliance Jio, it jumped by 97 lakh over the previous month—the highest in the last five months.