Telephone subscribers’ base nosedives to 1185 mn in Nov: TRAI


Agencies, New Delhi The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday said the number of telephone subscribers in India declined from 1,201.72 million at the end of October 2017 to 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 1.32 per cent. In a monthly subscriber report the telecom regulator pointed out that the urban subscription declined from 697.54 million at the end of Oct-17 to 684.89 million at the end of Nov-17, and the rural subscription also declined from 504.19 million to 500.99 million during the same period. The monthly decline rates of urban and rural subscription were 1.81% and 0.63% respectively during the month of Nov-17, the report said.The decline is attributed to the closure of mobile services by some of the operators including Reliance Communications (RCom), which lost over 2.57 crore subscribers during the period. In the month of November, 2017, 15.99 million subscribers submitted their requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP). With this, the cumulative MNP requests increased from 314.99 million at the end of Oct-17 to 330.98 million at the end of Nov-17, since implementation of MNP, the report said. Number of active wireless subscribers in November, 2017 was 1,006.40 million. The overall Tele-density in India declined from 92.92 at the end of Oct-17 to 91.61 at the end of Nov-17. The Urban Tele-density declined from 171.08 at the end of Oct-17 to 167.72 at the end of Nov-17, and the Rural Teledensity also declined from 56.94 at the end of Oct-17 to 56.54 at the end of Nov-17. The share of urban subscribers and rural subscribers in total number of telephone subscribers at the end of Nov-17 was 57.75% and 42.25% respectively.Telecom major Bharti Airtel had the highest customer base of over 28.95 crore, but followed Jio in terms of new subscriber gain in November with net addition of over 43 lakh customers. Idea added 31.98 lakh new customers, Vodafone 27 lakh and state-run BSNL 10.8 lakh.Sistema Shyam Teleservices, which merged with RCom recently and has been reporting numbers separately, also lost over 32 lakh customers. Tata Teleservices and Telenor, the companies that are in the process of merging with Airtel, lost 22 lakh and 12.45 lakh customers, respectively. Aircel and MTNL lost 6.65 lakh and 3,941 customers respectively.Landline subscribers further declined to 2.34 crore from 2.35 crore during the period, the report said. The urban subscriber base declined to 68.48 crore from 69.75 crore and the number of rural customers dipped to 50 crore from 50.41 crore during the same period. The number of broadband subscribers increased to 35 crore from about 34 crore. “As on November 30, 2017, the top five wireless broadband service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm (15.2 crore), Bharti Airtel (6.72 crore), Vodafone (5 crore), Idea Cellular (3.29 crore) and BSNL (1.19 crore),” the report said. BSNL led the market in fixed broadband segment with 94.3 lakh customers. It was followed by Airtel with 21.4 lakh, Atria Convergence Technologies 12.7 lakh, MTNL 9.2 lakh and Hathway Cable & Datacom with 6.9 lakh customers. Top five service providers constituted 92.92% market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Nov-17. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (152.08 million), Bharti Airtel (69.38 million), Vodafone (50.16 million), Idea Cellular (32.90 million) and BSNL (21.37 million). Tele-density figures are derived from the telephone subscriber data provided by the access service providers and the projections of population published by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner.