Telecom subscribers’ base declines to 116.6 crore in Feb

Telecom subscribers’ base in the country declined to 116.6 crore in February this year, with players like Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea losing customers in the mobile services segment during the period.

Bharti Airtel was the only net gainer in the mobile segment, according to the subscribers data report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for February. The report was released on Tuesday.

On the other hand, fixed line customer base continued to increase with private telecom operators gaining market share while public sector firms — BSNL and MTNL –lost subscribers.

“The number of telephone subscribers in India decreased from 1,169.46 million at the end of January-2022 to 1,166.05 million at the end of February-2022, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 0.29 per cent,” the Trai report said.

Mobile subscribers’ base declined across the country except in three circles — UP East, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana.

February was the third straight month when Reliance Jio lost its mobile customers. The company lost 36.6 lakh mobile subscribers taking its total wireless customer base to 40.27 crore.

Vodafone Idea (VI) continued to lose its mobile subscribers. It lost 15.32 lakh mobile subscribers while BSNL and MTNL lost 1.11 lakh and 5,097 such customers, respectively.

Bharti Airtel added 15.91 lakh new customers in February.

The growth trend in wireline subscriber base, which picked up after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, is gaining momentum with private telecom operators driving the growth in the segment.

“Wireline subscribers increased from 24.21 million at the end of January-2022 to 24.52 million at the end of February-2022. Net increase in the wireline subscriber base was 0.31 million with a monthly growth rate of 1.27 per cent,” Trai report said.

Reliance Jio led the growth in the wireline segment by adding 2.44 lakh customers. It was followed by Bharti Airtel which added 91,243 customers, Vodafone Idea (24,948), Quadrant (18,622) and Tata Teleservices (3,772).

The government-owned BSNL and MTNL, who jointly have a 49.5 per cent share in the segment, lost 49,074 and 21,900 fixed line customers, respectively.

Broadband subscriber base in the country declined marginally to 78.33 crore in February from 78.34 crore in January.

“Top five service providers constituted 98.5 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of February-22. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (40.77 crore), Bharti Airtel (21.31 crore), Vodafone Idea (12.19 crore), BSNL (2.67 crore) and Atria Convergence (20.6 lakh),” the report said.

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