Active users’ tally: Jio gains 2.5 mn subscribers in July as Airtel, VIL slip


PTI, Oct 18, 2020, 11:36 AM IST

New Delhi: Reliance Jio gained 2.5 million active subscribers in July, reversing the decline seen in the previous month, while rivals Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost 0.4 million and 3.8 million active users respectively, latest reports based on TRAI data said.

Although industry’s overall wireless subscribers rose nearly 3.5 million in July — the first month of such gains since February — the total `active subscribers’ count in July actually fell 2.1 million, as per TRAI data.

“Industry’s active subscriber base…in July was down 2.1 million at 956 million after decline of 2.8 million month-on-month in June,” Axis Capital said in its recent report, crunching TRAI”s monthly data.

Active subscribers are calculated based on reported Visitor Location Register (VLR), a key metric reflecting the number of active users on a mobile network.

“As per TRAI data, RJio gained 2.5 million active subscribers, while Airtel/ VI lost 0.4/ 3.8 million active subscribers in July. Airtel’s reported subscriber addition was up 3.3 mn month-on-month offset by reduction in VLR by 114 bps (basis points),” Axis report said.

As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), out of the total wireless subscribers of about 1,144 million, 955.8 million wireless subscribers were active (measured on the date of peak VLR) in July 2020.

The proportion of active wireless subscribers was nearly 83.54 per cent of the total wireless subscriber base, TRAI said.

“Bharti Airtel has the maximum proportion (97 per cent) of its active wireless subscribers as against its total wireless subscribers on the date of peak VLR in the month of July 20,” TRAI said.

Against this, the proportion of active users for Reliance Jio was at about 78 per cent and for Vodafone Idea at 89.3 per cent, TRAI data showed.

In absolute terms, this pegged active subscriber count for Jio at 313 million users in July, as compared to Airtel’s 310 million users, and VIL’s 269 million.

In June this year, Airtel had led the tally with 311 million active users, against Jio’s 310 million and VIL’s 273 million, as per Axis Capital report.

In an earlier report, Axis Capital had attributed Jio’s lower active user ratio to multi factors such as data-only subscribers being higher on the network (meaning devices may be closed at the time of collection of data), rural users of JioPhone switching off devices at particular times, and its “conservative churn policy”.

Meanwhile, Nomura, in its note on telecom subscriber numbers, said Jio was the only telco with higher active subscribers month-on-month this time, and had regained its lead in the category.

“R-Jio became the market leader in VLR subs once again with market share of 32.7 per cent, after trailing Bharti narrowly in June. However, R-Jio’s VLR level at 78.1 per cent continued to decline,” it said.

Overall, Jio added 3.5 million wireless subscribers to surge past the 400 million mark, and continues to lead with highest monthly net adds among telcos.

On Airtel, Nomura report said Bharti’s active subscribers market share remained stable month-on-month at 32.5 per cent, as it continues to have highest VLR level at 97 per cent.

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