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Only 5.7% of Jio users from rural areas: Trai

Idea has 54.8%, followed by Vodafone with 53.7%

Kiran Rathee  |  New Delhi 

Only 5.7% of Jio users from rural areas: Trai

Reliance Jio, which launched its fourth-generation technology (4G) telecom services on September 5 last year, has been mostly an urban phenomenon.

Of its 72.16 million subscribers by end-December 2016, only 4.12 mn or 5.72 per cent were from rural areas, in contrast to incumbent operators. 

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data for 2016 show Cellular with the highest proportion of rural subscribers at 54.77 per cent followed by with 53.68 per cent and Bharti at 48.42 per cent.

At the end of December, had a subscriber base of 190.52 million, of which 104.35 mn were rural subscribers. Vodafone’s was 204.82 mn, of which 109.94 mn were rural subscribers. 

The overall base for was 269.68 mn; its rural subscribers were 130.57 mn.

In market share, had 0.89 per cent of rural subscribers. is the top one, with 28.09 per cent of rural subscribers, followed by with 23.66 per cent and Cellular with 22.45 per cent.

The incumbent operators have said their subscribers in rural areas mostly use feature phones and are reliant on the 2G network.

In overall wireless subscriber base, Jio's market share was 6.4 per cent by end-December 2016. The share of incumbent operators had shrunk, with that of Reliance down to 7.68 per cent, from 9.98 per cent a year before; that of Tata Teleservices fell to 4.7 per cent, from 6.01 per cent.

The three big incumbents saw their share fall marginally. Airtel’s fell to 23.58 per cent, from 24.07 per cent; Vodafone’s was down to 18.16 per cent, from 19.15 per cent; Cellular shrank to 16.90 per cent, from 17.01 per cent. Telenor's went to 4.83 per cent from the earlier 5.02 per cent.

Interestingly, despite Jio’s free services, which impacted the big private operators, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam's market share increased marginally to 8.59 per cent by end-2016, from 8.16 per cent a year before.

India's wireless subscriber base increased to 1,127 mn at the end of December 2016, from 1,010 mn a year before, growth of 11.5 per cent.