Telecom subscriber declines in Dec; Reliance Jio, Airtel add new customers

Telecom subscriber base in the country declined marginally to 1,173 million in December 2020 with Vodafone Idea and state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL losing the bulk of their customers, according to data released by sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio were the only gainers of new customers in December. "The number of telephone subscribers in India decreased from 1,175.27 million at the end of November 2020 to 1,173.83 million at the end of December 2020," Trai's telecom subscribers report for December 2020 said. The mobile subscriber base declined to 1,153.77 million in December, from 1,155.2 million in November. The dip in the subscriber’s base was mainly due to Vodafone Idea losing over 5.69 million mobile customers. It was followed by BSNL, which lost over 2,52,501 subscribers, and MTNL lost 6,442 customers.

Bharti Airtel led the mobile segment with an addition of over 4 million new customers and Reliance Jio added 4,78,917 new customers. Bharti Airtel also led the market inactive subscriber base. The company reported 97.1 percent, active subscribers, in December. It was followed by Vodafone Idea with 90.26 percent and Reliance Jio with 80.23 percent. Only about half of BSNL's mobile customer base was found to be active, while only less than one-fifth of MTNL customers were found active in December, according to the report.

Punjab reported the highest decline rate in mobile subscriber base of 3.34 percent. It was followed by Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The highest growth rate in mobile subscriber base was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and the north-eastern region.

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