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Reliance Jio crosses 40 cr customers mark - But not all rosy for it

(Image credit: Jio)
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It's all happening for Reliance Jio (Reliance Jio Infocomm). It has become the first mobile service provider to cross the mark of 40 crore customers in India with a total addition of over 35 lakh subscribers in July.

According to the monthly report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the country's total telecom subscriber base increased to 116.4 crore in July from 116 crore in June. This is only a marginal increase.

Reliance Jio increasing numbers has been the talking point. Despite the mounting competition from Airtel and Vi, Reliance  has managed to stay ahead and increase its numbers.

Reliance Jio now dominates India's mobile market with 35.03 per cent market share at 40,08,03,819 subscribers.

Bharti Airtel and BSNL added 32.6 lakh and 3.88 lakh mobile customers respectively in July. Vodafone Idea lost over 37 lakh customers. State-run MTNL also lost 5,457 mobile service customers.

In general, mobile phone connections in the country increased to 114.4 crore in July from 114 crore in June, with urban and rural connections standing at 61.9 crore and 52.1 crore respectively.

Rise in landline connections

Interestingly, after many years, fixed-line connections increased marginally to 1,98,20,419, with private telecom operators led by Jio taking the lead. The demand for fixed phones may be due to the increased work from home norm ushered in because of the pandemic. 

But while companies like Jio, Airtel have shown promise in the segment, the erstwhile biggies like the State-owned BSNL and MTNL, and the down-in-the-dumps private firms Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices continued to see a fall in fixed-line customer numbers.

The broadband segment, grew by 1.03 per cent to 70.54 crore in July from 69.82 crore in June.

The top five service providers constituted 98.91 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of July.

Reliance Jio had 40.19 crore broadband customers, Bharti Airtel 15.57 crore, Vodafone Idea 11.52 crore, BSNL 2.3 crore and Atria Convergence 16.9 lakh subscribers in July.

Problems for Jio

But still, it is not all hunky-dory for Reliance Jio. Reliance Jio’s falling share of active customers, also known as the Visitor Location Register (VLR) is certainly a cause for concern. 

VLR denotes subscribers who are active on the network, can send or receive calls, don’t have their mobile switched off and are not outside the coverage area.   

According to the TRAI data, only 78.09% of the Reliance Jio's user base was active. In comparison, Bharti Airtel's active user base was 97% while Vodafone-Idea's was 89.33.

The market allegation is that Jio has dumped the market with cheap phones and telecom plans. But they have sold them to people who cannot make subsequent payments to be active users.

Reliance Jio is aware of the criticism, and hence is now focusing on post-paid accounts with some attractive features like roll-over credit plan. 

It is hoping to get over the image of it being a poor man's network. Admittedly, the high-end users are more with Airtel and Vodafone.

Source: TRAI