Ever since Reliance Jio entered the telecom sector, it has been putting pressure on incumbent operators. With the intense price vs data war, telcos like Aircel and RCom had to shut shop, whereas Vodafone India got merged into Idea Cellular to form a new entity – Vodafone Idea. At the same time, even Tata Docomo is set to merge with Bharti Airtel. And if we look at TRAI’s data for the month of October 2018, things don’t seem good for incumbent telcos.
Reliance Jio continues to march forward gaining 10.5 million subscribers in the month of October. The telco now has a subscriber base of 263 million. Jio’s market share also rose to 22.46 percent in October, compared to 21.57 percent in September. State run telco, BSNL, also added 0.36 million subscribers in October making a total market share of 9.7 percent.
During the same period, Vodafone Idea lost 7.36 million subscribers, whereas Bharti Airtel lost 1.86 million subscribers. Even Tata Teleservices lost 0.92 million subscribers during the same period. Still, Vodafone Idea remains the largest telco in India with total subscriber base touching 427.6 million, and a market share of 36.55 percent, whereas Airtel remains the second largest operator with 341.65 million users, and a market share of 29.2 percent.
Going forward, it doesn’t seem like things will ease for telcos as they are set to lose more subscribers in the coming months. Failing to generate revenues, telecom operators have done away with lifetime free incoming service, and have now introduced minimum recharge prepaid plans starting as low as Rs 23.
While experts believe that the subscriber count could go down further, it will eventually help to do away with freeloaders, who don’t generate revenues. And by gradually shutting down 2G services, it will eventually help to move subscribers to 3G and 4G network. Lastly, as per TRAI’s data, mobile and landline subscribers in India rose by 0.05 percent to 1.192 billion in October.