Vodafone Idea Sheds Users For 17th Straight Month, Jio Gains 14 Lakh Users

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Airtel added more than 10.56 Lakh users in November 2022 taking total user count to 36.6 Cr

Reliance Jio accounted for a market share of 36.99% while Airtel accounted for a market share of 32.03% at the end of November 2022

As many as 1.2 Cr users also submitted requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in November 2022

For the 17th consecutive month, Vodafone Idea (VI) continued to shed subscribers. The telecom operator saw the exodus of 18.27 Lakh users in November 2022, as per monthly data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Reliance Jio continued its grip over the market as it added more than 14.26 Lakh users in November 2022. Its total user count stood at 42.28 Cr at the end of the month. 

On the other hand, Airtel took the second spot in terms of user additions with more than 10.56 Lakh users. Overall, the telecom operator’s total user base stood at 36.60 Cr in November 2022. 

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) also saw user numbers in red. BSNL lost a mammoth 11.7 Lakh subscribers in November while MTNL lost 4,157 users during the period.

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi saw the highest monthly growth rate of wireless users in November 2022. The country was home to 114.30 Cr wireless subscribers during the period under review.

Overall, Reliance Jio continued to lead the charts with a market share of 36.99% while Airtel accounted for a market share of 32.03% at the end of the month. VI’s market share hovered around the 21.33% mark. 

The overall tele-density slipped to 84.61% in November 2022, compared to 84.69% at the end of October. While the cumulative urban tele-density stood at 134.22%, rural tele-density settled around the 57.77% mark. 

As many as 1.2 Cr users also submitted requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in November 2022, taking the total requests till date to 77.19 Cr.

This comes at a time when the country is witnessing rapid deployment of 5G services. Late last month, Jio announced that it would complete the deployment of 5G services across the country later this year.

On the regulatory front, the country is currently debating the Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022 which aims to replace the legacy Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950. 

The Bill has invited criticism especially from tech-based lobby groups that have termed certain provisions in the draft bill as having the potential of dampening competition and innovation in the OTT space.

Interestingly, the current month has so far seen telcos such as Jio and Airtel line up before the government to oppose the Centre’s bid to allow the transfer of personal data of Indians to ‘trusted geographies’ under the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Earlier this week, Airtel also expanded its price hike to additional seven circles and raised its minimum tariffs by at least 57% to INR 155. The move is expected to augment revenues and add to the healthy ARPU margins of the company. 

Close on the heels of that, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that a hike in the prices of data or devices posed a challenge for the country’s vision of rapid digitisation.

He further said that the ministry may approach TRAI to examine whether the price hike would have a long or a short-term impact. 

In the overall telecom space, it, so far, appears that Vodafone Idea’s loss has been Jio and Airtel’s gain. With the competition further expected to further heat up owing to 5G deployment, all eyes are now on Jio whether it also follows Airtel’s suit and hikes prices or begins a price war to corner Airtel. 

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