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With 3.55 million new users, Reliance Jio sole telco to add customers in May

Bharti Airtel led the decline with a loss of 4.61 million subscribers followed by Vodafone Idea, which lost 4.28 million. State-run BSNL lost 880,810 users.

Continuing its strong momentum, Reliance Jio added 3.55 million wireless subscribers in May, the highest in the industry for four straight months. Jio was the sole operator to add customers in May, during which the overall wireless subscriber base declined by 6.27 million.

Bharti Airtel led the decline with a loss of 4.61 million subscribers followed by Vodafone Idea, which lost 4.28 million. State-run BSNL lost 880,810 users.

As per industry executives, the loss of subscribers was primarily due to the migration of workers to their native hometowns, which led to the deactivation of multiple SIMs. Also, as May witnessed Covid-19 induced lockdowns across various states, there was a softness in offline recharges and issuance of new connections due to the closure of retail stores. Jio was able to add subscribers because it has a very strong offline retail network at the micro-level. Also, the company was able to sell JioPhone to a good number of customers, many of whom have come from rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

It was for the first time after the April-June quarter last year, that Bharti Airtel has lost 4G customers too.

As per data shared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Jio’s wireless subscriber base rose by 0.83% in May to reach 431.23 million. In contrast, Bharti Airtel’s base declined by 1.31% to 348.29 million. Vodafone Idea’s wireless user base was down 1.52% to 277.62 million while BSNL’s base was reduced to 116.34 million.

In terms of wireless broadband users, Jio’s base stood at 431.23 million, followed by Airtel at 189.49 million, Vodafone Idea at 119.63 million. Competition for 4G users is heating up as mobile operators try to add and upgrade more users. Reliance is giving a JioPhone for Rs 1,999, which comes with 24 months of unlimited service. Another plan is for Rs 1,499, which comes with 12 months of unlimited service.

As there is so much customer movement, the MNP requests have also been consistently high for the past few months. The MNP requests stood at 7.28 million in May.

In terms of wireline broadband subscribers, Reliance Jio has been adding a maximum number of users, primarily due to the rollout of its fibre connectivity across the country. Jio added around 200,000 wireline broadband users in May followed by 50,000 of Airtel. BSNL managed to curb attrition of wireline broadband users in May as the company witnessed no change in user base. As of May, the wireline broadband base of BSNL stood at 6.03 million, followed by 3.24 million of Airtel, 3 million of Reliance Jio, 1.87 million of ACT and 1.07 million of Hathway Cable.

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