Reliance Jio and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) together added a net 8.639 million mobile telephone subscribers in February, according to data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
The other telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, lost a big chunk of their respective subscribers. The country's total subscriber base, thanks to Jio and BSNL, grew marginally, to 1,205 million. The sector, dominated by wireless connection, recorded an increase in the mobile services subscriber base to 1,183.6 million by end-February, from 1,181.9 million in January. Jio added 7.79 million, to a total subscriber base of 297 million. According to a television commercial of the firm, this has since crossed 300 million.
BSNL said 900,000 mobile customers, taking its total subscriber base to 116.2 million by end-February. “(This) shows that customers have faith in BSNL. We are able to compete and gain customers with our much-improved 3G (third-generation technology) network,” said BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava. The state entity’s 3G network competes with the 4G services-loaded spetrum of its private competitors. It had asked the Centre to give it spectrum for 4G services, through equity infusion, in 2017. The government is yet to decide.
Vodafone Idea, the country’s biggest telecom operator, lost 5.787 million mobile subscribers, in February, reducing its total customer base to 409.3 million. Tata Teleservices lost 1.147 million mobile customers, Airtel lost 49,896, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam 4,652 and Reliance Communications 3,611 subscribers.
Fixed-line connections in the country declined marginally, with BSNL losing 100,000 connections. Airtel and Vodafone gained 42,456 and 17,563 fixed-line customers, respectively, in February.