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Will Jio Overtake Bharti Airtel To Become India’s 2nd Largest Telecom Operator?

The race for becoming India’s 2nd largest telecom operator between Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio is still on but with Airtel’s Q4 results due on Monday, it will soon become clear if Mukesh Ambani’s Jio will actually climb the ladder and outshine Sunil Bharti Mittal’s company. With 29 crore wireless subscribers towards the end of February 2019, Reliance Jio has emerged as a tough competitor to many telecom operators in India. Considering Jio’s growth trend in the previous few quarters, it may even leave behind Vodafone-Idea, dethroning it as the current largest telecom firm in India.

Jio’s sustained growth in 2018

While other telecom operators have mostly maintained a ‘lose’ or ‘barely growing’ trend on the subscriber base, Reliance Jio has been the only telecom which maintained a ‘gain’ streak throughout the year 2018.

For the QE Sep-Dec 18, Reliance Jio was the only private telco (along with PSU BSNL) to gain subscribers while both small and large players, including Vodafone-Idea, registered mostly negative growth. Jio had added close to 3 crore subscribers in that quarter, according to TRAI’s Indian Telecom Services Performance Report. In the year 2018, Reliance Jio has continued to add more than 2.5 crore subscribers every quarter.

Reliance Jio’s own reported user base also tell a similar story. In its Jan-Mar 2019 quarterly results details, Reliance Jio reported over 30 crore subscribers at the end of March. Bharti Airtel is due to report its March-end user base today, along with its quarterly results.

Market share

As of February 2019, Vodafone-Idea had over 40 crore users (wireline and wireless combined), Bharti Airtel had over 34 crore users and Reliance Jio was strong with a little less than 30 crore subscribers (TRAI figures). Vodafone-Idea leads in terms of market share for wireless subscribers with 34.58% share. The same for Bharti Airtel is 28.75%, while Reliance Jio is inching closer with 25.11%.

In terms of wireline share, BSNL leads with more than half the subscription hold, followed by Bharti Airtel at 18.95%. For broadband services, Reliance Jio topples all other telecom operators with a 54% share in the market.―Financial Express

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