Wireless Subscriber Base touches 112.7 cr as Jio adds 2 crore customers in Dec’16

India’s total wireless subscriber base jumped from 1099.5 mn to 1127.37mn at the end of Dec’16 owing to net additions of more than 20.2 mn additions by the latest entrant in telecom space Reliance Jio. Total net additions recorded in Dec’16 were 27.8 mn in wireless category. Reliance Jio’s total subscriber base touched 72.1 mn in just four months as more and more customers joined its network to enjoy 4G technology at no cost with free offers till Mar 2017. For Jio this was the best performance in new additions in a month since its launch as it added 15.9 mn, 19.6mn, 16.2mn and 20.2 mn in Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec respectively.

Telecom Highlights - Dec 2016 Wireless Market Share - Dec 2016

But severe competition from this new operator is taking a toll on the health of incumbent operators as it is affecting their net margins in a big way and it has been already witnessed in third quarter results of telecom operators.  Idea Cellular, which reported net loss of Rs 385 cr in Q3 this financial year , made net additions of 2.8 mn customers while market leader Bharti Airtel , which witnessed  a dip of more than 54% in Q3 in its net profits compared to same quarter last year , had net additions of 2.5 mn in Dec taking its total base to 265.8 mn.  Airtel’s market share has declined from 25% in Aug’16 to 23.58% in Dec’16 and similar trend is seen with other incumbent operators.  State run telecom PSU BSNL’s total mobile subscriber base touched 96.7 mn with net addition of 1 mn while MTNL , which operates only in Delhi and Mumbai , added two thousand mobile customers.

Market Share Comparison- Sep- Dec 2016   Net Additoins - Sep-dec

In wireline segment both BSNL and MTNL continue to remain unsuccessful to arrest surrender rate while private operators show positive growth . Investment in latest wireline technologies such as FTTH is the key to capture this segment which now holds promise to offer high speed broadband with consistent reliability at home and offices as we continue to add more number of devices in the form of smart TV, smartphone, tab, smart watches, home automation , online streaming etc. BSNL’s wireline base reduced by 53000 while MTNL had net loss of 4087 customers. Airtel added 7000 wireline customers while Vodafone , which caters only to enterprise segment in wireline, attracted 6000 customers in the month of Dec.

Wireline Base -Dec 2016

Broadband category increased at a monthly growth rate of 8.17% as the base enhanced from 218.27 mn in Nov to 236.09 mn in Dec. Reliance Jio boasts of being the leader in broadband with more than 72.16 mn customers while Airtel takes second position with 43.56 mn broadband customers on its network. As of Dec’16 country as 18.14 mn wireline broadband customers and 217.36 mn wireless broadband customers .

Broadband Base - Dec 2016


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Zainul lbad is a management graduate and tech enthusiast. He shares keen interest in exploring mobile gadgets, telecom technologies and applications.