Mobile user base dips for second straight month, shrinks by 1.82 million

Mobile user base dips for second straight month, shrinks by 1.82 million

The number of mobile phone users in India fell by 1.82 million to 1.14 billion in October, latest data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) showed.


Photo: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo

The drop represents the second consecutive month of decline in subscribers.

Users in the segment fell by 3.66 million in September, shrinking for the first time in seven months.

Before that, the number of subscribers last fell in February, by 3.7 million.

In recent months, it rose by 1.08 million in August, 640,000 in July and 1.89 million in June.

But unlike September, when the drop in users was concentrated in rural areas, the latest monthly drop was seen in urban areas.

The number of users in cities shrank by 1.96 million after increasing by 500,000 in September.

Meanwhile, the number of subscribers in India’s vast rural hinterland rose marginally by 140,000, after falling by 3.71 million in September.

Rural subscriptions have seen a seesaw over the past few months, rising by 950,000 in June, falling by 610,000 million in July and rising again by 750,000 in August.

Voda shrinks further

The drop can also be attributed to subscribers leaving Vodafone Idea, which saw its user base shrink by 3.5 million in October, after losing 4 million subscribers in September.

Not only has the company been losing subscribers over the past few months, but the rate of loss has also been steadily accelerating.

It lost 1.8 million in June, 1.5 million in July and 1.9 million in August.

Meanwhile, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio continued to strengthen its lead in the Indian telecom market as it gained 1.4 million subscribers, compared to the 700,000 gain in September.

However, Jio’s pace of new customer addition has slowed significantly from August when the company added 3.2 million subscribers.

It gained 2.94 million and 400,000 new subscribers in July and June.

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel added 0.8 million subscribers in October, double that of the 0.4 million additions in September, the data showed. It added 300,000, 500,000 and 700,000 subscribers in the previous months of August, July and June respectively,

The state-owned BSNL and MTNL lost 592,404 and 73,395 wireless customers respectively.

Jio had the highest user base in the country at 421.3 million as of October 30, followed by Airtel at 365.02 million, and Vodafone at 245.6 million.

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