Indian mobile subscriber base dipped by nearly 10 million users in January as tariff hikes make services dearer, said the telecom regulator.
According to the latest release of subscriber data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India’s wireless subscribers declined from 1,154.62 million at end of December 2021 to 1,145.24 million at end of January 2022, down 0.81%.
Reliance Jio and Vi (Vodafone Idea) reported a month-on-month fall in mobile subscribers while Bharti Airtel reported gains in January, revealed TRAI data.
Jio, India's largest mobile service provider, saw a drop for the second consecutive month as its customer base declined by 9.3 million to 406.3 million. Vi continued its losing streak as it shed 389,082 subscribers. It ended the month at 265.12 million customers. Airtel’s subscriber numbers increased by 714,199 to 356.4 million.
The operators had increased tariffs in November 2021 by 25% and since then they have been losing subscribers. Urban subscribers account for nearly 66% of the total subscriber loss. This is the second consecutive month of subscriber degrowth.
According to TRAI data, wireless subscriptions in urban areas decreased from 633.34 million at the end of December to 627.12 million at the end of January. Wireless subscriptions in rural areas also decreased from 521.28 million to 518.13 million during the same period.
The private access service providers held 89.76% market share of the wireless subscribers whereas the state-run telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) together held a market share of only 10.24% at the end of January.
Jio held the largest market share at 35.49%, followed by Bharti Airtel (31.13%), and Vodafone Idea (23.15%), as per the data. In terms of telecom PSUs, BSNL had the highest share of 9.95% while MTNL held only 0.28% share.