Reliance Jio Infocomm added a whopping 8.74 million customers in February, taking its market share well past 15%, while rival incumbents Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular registered comparatively smaller customer gains of 4.1 million, 3.2 million and 4.4 million respectively amid continuing price wars fuelled by the Mukesh Ambani-led 4G newcomer.
Jio continued its steady climb in terms of customer market share, taking it to 15.31%, up from 14.62% in January, 13.71% in December, 13.08% in November and 12.39% in October, as per data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday.
Bharti Airtel, however, remained India’s biggest phone company with 295.78 million customers, while Reliance Jio’s subscriber base swelled to 177.13 million, end-February. Second-largest carrier, Vodafone India’s customer base expanded to 217.06 million and No 3 carrier, Idea’s to 202.06 million.
Incumbent telcos continued to benefit by gaining customers porting out from fringe players such as Reliance Communications -- which has shut down its wireless operations -- and Aircel, which has filed for bankruptcy.
Accordingly, data collated by the telecom regulator showed Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea also registered modest market share gains end-February to 25.57 % (25.32%), 18.76% (18.56%) and 17.47% (17.16%) respectively over the previous month.
State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) reported a modest 0.80 million customer adds in February, marginally growing its market share to 9.43% from 9.40% in the previous month.
Anil Ambani-led RCom continued to lose customers in droves, over a whopping 11.38 million in February 2018, following its announcement last October to switch off its 2G and 3G wireless operations. Aircel, Tata Teleservices and Telenor India lost over 2.5 million, 1.53 million and 1 million customers respectively. Telenor India and Tata Tele’s mobility business are being acquired by market leader Bharti Airtel, amid ongoing consolidation in the telecoms industry.
Visitor Location Register (VLR), a key metric reflecting the number of active subscribers on a mobile network, indicated that 108.05% of users were active for Airtel, 94.78% for Vodafone India, 101.72% for Idea and 86.02% for Jio.
Data collated by the telecom regulator showed that the total base of phone subscribers rose to 1,179.83 million in end-February from 1,175.01 million in end-January, reflecting a tiny 0.41% monthly growth.