Telecom subscribers in India reach 1.19 bn in December 2017: Trai

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 18, 2018

"The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,185.88 million at the end of November 2017 to 1,190.67 million at the end of December 2017, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.4 per cent", Trai said in a monthly subscribers' report. The monthly growth rates of urban and rural subscription were 0.49 percent and 0.28 percent respectively during December.

The number of broadband subscribers increased to 362.87 million at the end of December from 350.7 million in November.

The regulator said in the Telecommunication Tariff Order issued on Friday that a tariff will be considered predatory, if, in a "relevant market", an operator with over 30 per cent market share offers services at a rate that is below the average "variable cost", with an aim to reduce competition or monopolise the said "relevant market".

The Wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 664.94 million at the end of Nov-17 to 668.44 million at the end of Dec-17, and wireless subscriptions in rural areas also increased from 497.53 million to 499.00 million during the month.

Idea was followed by Vodafone which added 1.5 million new mobile subscribers, Airtel 576,575 and BSNL added 421,836 subscribers.

However another State-run telco, MTNL lost 6561 subscribers in the month.

Reliance Jio led the growth in mobile segment by adding over 8 million new customers- three fold more than it closest competitor Idea which added 2.43 million subscribers in the reported month.

The subscriber base in wireline segment declined to 23.23 million at the end of December from 23.41 million at the end of November 2017.

Following a slugfest past year between incumbent telecom operators - Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India - and the newcomer Reliance Jio over alleged predatory tariffs offered by the latter, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued new regulations saying it will impose financial disincentive of up to Rs 50 lakh per circle on operators if their service rates are found to be predatory in nature. As on December 31,2017 the top five wired Broadband service providers were BSNL (9.38 million), Bharti Airtel (2.15 million), Ataria Convergence Technologies (1.28 million), MTNL (0.91 million) and Hathway Cable and datacom (0.73 million).

The December data is also crucial as many subscribers from former telecom operators continue to opt for the five major functional ones.

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