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Active mobile subscribers fall in April after five mths, 7.5 mn users lost

Airtel and Vodafone Idea down by 3.1 mn and 3.8 mn users respectively; Jio's base remains flat

Mobile subscribers | Airtel | Vodafone

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

Mobile, smartphones, internet, gaming, tech
Photo: Bloomberg

The number of active mobile phone users declined by 7.5 million in April on a month on month basis, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data.

The fall in active subscribers was the first after four consecutive months of growth, Emkay Research said in its report on Friday. The fall in active subscribers was due to contraction in and Idea’s base by 3.1 million and 3.8 million respectively while Reliance Jio’s active subscriber number remained flat in April.

Total active subscribers stood at over 1.01 billion at the end of April.

Analysts at Jefferies said this is only the second time in ten years that all operators recorded a fall in active subscribers. “The first time this happened was in April 2020 amid Covid-19 lockdown. A continuation of this trend could indicate SIM consolidation amidst rising tariffs,” they said. JM Financial, too, said that the fall of 3.1 million active subscribers at could be due to the continued churn in lower ARPU, or average revenue per user.

A source at said the dip in active subscribers was due to seasonality and should not be seen as business performance. The active subscriber number is taken from the visitor locator register which is a temporary database of subscribers. A subscriber may not get captured in VLR as he/she has switched off phone or moved out of coverage area.

Since April is a peak month for travel, customers who are out of station will not get captured in VLR data, he explained.

Overall, the total wireless subscriber count rose by 600,000 to 1.14 billion with Jio adding the most number of customers in April. Idea continued to see a fall in customers.

Airtel and Jio added 1.1 million and 1.69 million customers respectively while Idea lost 1.6 million.

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First Published: Fri, June 17 2022. 19:18 IST