Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is yet to pip Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel and is still at least 2 crore users short of becoming the country’s second largest telecom service operator by the number of users. Bharti Airtel has 2 crore more subscribers than Reliance Jio, while Vodafone Idea — India’s largest telco by users — has 9 crore more the Mukesh Ambani’s firm, the latest TRAI data show. While Jio was expected to overtake Bharti after the Jan-Mar quarter results, this may have come as a surprise to many who were quite hopeful of Jio’s growth considering its bullish performance in past quarters.
With 30.7 crore telecom users at the end of March, Reliance Jio is the third largest telecom operator in India, trailing Bharti Airtel, which had 32.9 crore users, and Vodafone-Idea, which is over 39.5 crore-user strong, according to TRAI’s latest Telecom Subscription Data report.
However, with the major telecom firms actively losing their user base and weeding out the low revenue subscribers, the day might not be far for Jio to actually become the largest network operator in the country. Jio is the only telecom operator in India which has added to its subscriber base in the Jan-Mar quarter while the others have lost users, including Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. In fact, the telcos have been on a losing spree for quite a while now. In the current quarter, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea lost close to 1.5 crore users each.
A similar trend was also witnessed in Oct-Dec 2018 quarter in which Jio added a massive 3 crore users. Jio added approximately 2.5 crore users in every quarter since 2018, according to TRAI data. For the Jan-Mar quarter, Jio’s subscriber base saw growth as well as it added close to 1 crore users, even though not keeping up with its previous growth rate.
Jio loses out on VLR metric
VLR, or active users metric, is used by telecom operators to tell if a user is able to send/receive calls/SMS and also satisfies minimum balance requirements of the telco. According to the TRAI report, Vodafone enjoys 93% active users and Bharti Airtel has 100% active users. The same for Jio was low at 84%.―Financial Express