Reliance Jio numbers have only gone in one direction since the commercial launch on September 5, 2016. A new report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) gives us a look at exactly how quickly Jio was off the blocks. The company added over 19.6 million subscribers in the month of October alone. Needless to say, it was way ahead of its rivals. Also Read - Best postpaid plans under Rs 600 from Reliance, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea: Unlimited calls, OTT subscription, moreAlso Read - Reliance Jio vs Vi vs Airtel: Best 4GB daily data prepaid plans under Rs 600
To put this number into perspective, Idea Cellular came in second despite having added over 6.3 million subscribers in the same period. Trailing the two were the likes of Bharti Airtel (2.3 million), BSNL (1.18 million), and Vodafone (1.17 million). The report also reveals that Tata Teleservices, and Reliance Communication lost about 1.3 million and 1 million subscribers respectively in the same period. Also Read - Sardar Udham Released on Amazon Prime Video: How to watch Vicky Kaushal starrer for free
While impressive, these numbers are hardly surprising when you consider what Reliance Jio was offering since day one. Apart from free SIM cards for everyone, the Mukesh Ambani-led company also announced Welcome Offer , which essentially offered free voice calls, texts, and high-speed data till the end of the year. The deluge of new users was pretty much expected, as was the company and its retailers inability to cope with the demand. In the following days, Reliance Jio stores saw queues akin to a new Apple iPhone launch. The excessive demand also gave rise to a black market, wherein touts and some alleged retailers started selling SIM cards for a small fee. The spike in subscriber numbers in October suggests that Jio was finally able to service customer demands in terms of providing SIM cards and activating connections.
The Welcome Offer, and Reliance Jio s tariff plans with rock-bottom prices have also hit incumbent operators really hard. In the past few months, we have seen the likes of Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel drastically cut down their tariff plans, as well as offer free voice calls with certain plans. The increasing competition also has existing players looking for other avenues like mergers. A report from yesterday claimed that Vodafone India was looking at merger options with the likes of Reliance Jio or Idea Cellular for survival.
In a move that would adversely affect incumbent players, Reliance Jio recently extended the validity of its freebies by announcing the Happy New Year Offer. This is essentially a rebranded version of the Welcome Offer, which will continue offering Jio s services for free till March 31, 2017. The only difference however is that daily 4G data limit has come down from 4GB to 1GB. RELATED: Mukesh Ambani announces Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer, here s everything you need to know
These offers have helped Reliance Jio garner a subscriber base of nearly 60 million in a very short time. In comparison, the likes of Airtel and Vodafone took years to reach this number. According to analysts, the operator is highly likely to cross 100 million subscribers by the end of March. Another study claims that once the freebies are over, over 85 percent of existing customers are likely to continue using Jio, courtesy of its rock-bottom prices. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio SIM cards could soon work with 3G smartphones: Report
The TRAI report adds that the overall wireless subscriber base increased from 1.04 billion at the end of September to 1.07 billion by the end of October. In other words, there was a monthly growth rate of 2.73 percent. In urban areas, the subscriber base rose to 621.77 million by October-end, while the number of subscribers in rural areas rose to 456.66 million. This translates to a 2.97 percent monthly growth in urban areas, and 2.40 percent growth in rural areas. As for market shares, Airtel continued to dominate with a 24.32 percent share, followed by Vodafone and Idea Cellular at 18.72 percent and 17.17 percent respectively.