Reliance Jio pips Vodafone-Idea to become India's top telco
17 January 2020
Reliance Jio, with nearly 370 million subscribers at the end of December 2019, has overtaken Vodafone-Idea to become India's leading telecom operator.
Jio added 5.6 million mobile subscribers in November, taking its total to 369.93 million subscribers. Jio now holds a 32.04 per cent share in the over 1.15 billion user Indian mobile services market.
Reliance Jio's recently disclosed Q1 FY20 financial report also showed 331.3 million subscribers in its network as of 30 June 2019.
On the other hand, Vodafone-Idea's Q1 FY20 financial report had disclosed a 14.1 billion decline in its user base, declining from the industry-topping 334.1 million subscribers as of March 2019, to stand at 320 million subscribers at present.
Bharti Airtel, which was the leader in customer numbers before the Vodafone, Idea merger, had put its customer base at 320.4 million in disclosures to Telecom sector regulator Trai in May last year. The telco has since been losing subscribers while Jio has gained all the while.
Although the monthly subscriber report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is yet to be published, the data is reliable since these are from official documents.
Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea, are India's three leading telecom operators.
Jio has been on a growth path ever since launching in India three years ago, while also churning the Indian telecom market with low-cost data and call plans, along with bundled content and services.
Vodafone-Idea attributes the loss of subscribers to its recently introduced service validity vouchers and the minimum recharge plans, as it aims to do away with low revenue customers and consolidate its burgeoning losses.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has rejected pleas by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to review its AGR judgement.
AGR serves as a base for most of the levies, including licence fees and spectrum charges which are calculated as a percentage of the figure.
The two telecom companies, along with rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, raised prices of their services by up to 47 per cent in the first week of December 2019.
Shares of Vodafone Idea plunged 39 per cent, while Bharti Infratel share prices slipped 13 per cent in early trade today, after the Supreme Court, on January 16, dismissed a review petition filed by telecom companies seeking relief from the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) verdict.
Telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, had sought a relief on interest and penalty payments. RailTel, the only PSU in the sector, had also filed a review petition.