Idea Cellular has toppled Reliance Communications to become India’s third largest cellular operator after Airtel and Vodafone, according to TRAI’s latest telecom subscription data for September. Idea now has 14.61 percent of the total subscriber base while RCom now accounts for 13.35 percent subscribers in India. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
RCom justifies the drop In subscriber numbers to its deactivating almost 10 million inactive subscribers in September. “Reliance Communications has deactivated the services of around 10 million unprofitable, low-end subscribers at the lowest end of the ARPU range, who had not used their phones for over two months. This is in line with the industry practice and has no impact on customer experience or (the Company’s) revenues..We continue to focus on improving the contribution from profitable minutes on our network,” a RCom spokesperson said.
This is not the first time any carrier has deactivated non-active subscribers. According to Indian laws, carriers have to deactivate numbers that have not been used for more than two months or those for which the identification documents are incomplete.
According to the numbers shared by TRAI, India had 870.58 million cellular subscribers at the end of September, a decline of 0.70 percent from August. Airtel leads the pack with 193 million subscribers (22.21 percent) followed by Vodafone with 155 million subscribers (17.87 percent). Idea Cellular and RCom fill in the third and fourth spots with 127 million (14.61 percent) and 116 million (13.35 percent) subscribers respectively.
Idea Cellular added the most subscribers (1.207 million) in September followed by Vodafone (1.205 million). Airtel added 1.16 million subscribers while RCom lost 10.4 million subscribers.