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Amid price wars, telco majors keep market share intact

Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea all registered modest market share gains in March, while Reliance Jio continued to make brisk inroads into the industry.

, ET Bureau|
May 23, 2018, 10.44 PM IST
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular continued to add customers and hold on to market share in March amid continuing price wars and strong subscriber additions by 4G operator Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea registered modest market share gains to 25.7% (25.57 %), 18.82% (18.76%) and 17.85% (17.47%), respectively, in March over the previous month as customers ported out from Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telenor India and Reliance Communications.

Reliance Jio recorded the highest customer additions in March, at 9.43 million, taking its market share to 15.76%. Jio’s customer market share increased from 13.08% in November.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular gained 8.4 million, 5.63 million and 9.1 million subscribers, respectively, as per data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday.

Sunil Mittal-led Airtel remained India’s biggest phone company with 304.19 million customers, while Jio’s subscriber base swelled to 186.56 million. Vodafone, the second-biggest telco, expanded to 222.69 million while No. 3 Idea’s users grew to 211.2 million.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam reported 2.56 million customer additions in March, marginally increasing its market share to 9.44% from 9.43% in the previous month.

Aircel, Tata Teleservices and Telenor India lost over 4.77 million, 2.05 million and 1.3 million customers, respectively. Bharti Airtel has acquired Telenor India and is poised to buy out Tata Teleservices’ mobility business amid the ongoing consolidation in the telecom industry.

Anil Ambani-led RCom lost over 0.49 million users in March following its announcement last October to switch off its 2G and 3G wireless operations.

Visitor Location Register, a key metric reflecting the number of active subscribers on a mobile network, indicated that 106.82% of users were active for Airtel, 94.13% for Vodafone India, 94.13% for Idea and 85.75% for Jio.

Data collated by the telecom regulator showed that the total base of phone subscribers rose to 1,206.22 million in end-March from 1,179.83 million in end-February, reflecting a 2.24% monthly growth.

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