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Vodafone Idea loses 6.52 million customers in November 2018: COAI
TT Correspondent |  |  04 Jan 2019

India’s biggest telco Vodafone Idea lost over a whopping 6.52 million customers in November 2018 while second-largest, Bharti Airtel notched up a modest 0.11 million subscriber additions amid network integration challenges and continued pricing aggression from Reliance Jio Infocomm, latest numbers collated by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) showed.

The COAI represents all major telecom companies.

The combined customer base of Vodafone Idea – formed last August with the merger of erstwhile Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – for November narrowed to nearly 421.08 million (427.6 million) from the previous month, while Airtel’s rose marginally to 341.76 million (341.65 million). Analysts fear Vodafone Idea could lose both customer and revenue share in coming months as it's likely to focus more on integrating two vast companies and their mobile networks than on new customer acquisitions.

Jio’s November subscriber numbers were not immediately available. But given that the Mukesh Ambani-led telco’s subscriber base in October stood at nearly 263 million on the back of 10.5 million customer additions, experts believe the telco’s customer base will have easily topped the 270 million-mark based on its current run rate.

The mobile services industry ended November with 1.02 billion customers, reflecting a 0.63% decline over the previous month.

Both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have reported marginal dips in their customer market shares compared to the previous month. The customer market shares of Vodafone Idea and Airtel have declined to 41.06% (41.86%) and 33.32% (33.45%) respectively from the previous month, according to subscriber data issued by COAI.

Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI, said “the telecom industry deserves urgent and immediate intervention to encourage policy and regulatory stability, given its mounting debt and debilitating financial health”.

Harsh Jagnani, VP (corporate ratings) at rating agency, ICRA, though welcomed the increase in the country’s active wireless subscriber base to 1.02 billion in October 2018 – reflecting a net addition of 8.6 million subscribers.

“This growth was led by Jio and Bharti, which added 8.5 million and 3.4 million active subscribers respectively, at the expense of other operators,” said Jagnani.

    
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04 Jan 2019(IST)  
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