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Rural Telephone Subscribers Fall In May, Urban User Base Rises: TRAI

The number of telephone subscribers in rural areas fell 0.86 percent while those in the urban areas rose 0.57 percent in May 2019, according to official data. The overall teledensity in the country slipped to 89.92 percent at the end of May 2019 from 90.05 percent at the end of April, as the total number of telephone subscribers in the country declined marginally to 1,183.15 million as on May 2019 from 1,183.7 million in the previous month.

“The rural subscription declined from 512.91 million at the end of April 19 to 508.49 million at the end of May 2019. However, the urban subscription increased from 670.86 million to 674.66 million during the same period,” as per the subscription data for May 2019 released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The rural subscriber base fell 0.86 percent, while the urban subscriber numbers rose 0.57 percent during May.

“The share of rural and urban subscribers in total number of telephone subscribers at the end of May 2019 was 42.98 percent and 57.02 percent respectively,” Trai said. In the broadband segment, defined as more than or equal to 512 kbps download speed, the number of overall subscribers increased 1.67 percent to 581.51 million at the end of May 2019 (571.95 million in April 2019), with Jio accounting for the largest chunk (322.9 million subscribers). The broadband subscriber base of Bharti Airtel stood at 118.34 million, and Vodafone Idea at 109 million during the period in reference.

Top-five service providers constituted 98.69 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of May 2019. Large operators Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel whose financials have been battered by intense price competition posed by Reliance Jio have, over the last few months, resorted to minimum recharge plans, consciously weeding off plain vanilla low-value subscribers.―Devdiscourse

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