Private telecom operator Reliance Jio toppled state-run BSNL in August to become the largest fixed-line service provider in the country, according to a TRAI report released on Tuesday. This is the first time since the beginning of telecom services in the country that a private operator has gained the numero uno position in the wireline segment.
According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India TRAI’s subscriber report for August, Jio’s wireline subscriber base reached 73.52 lakh while that of BSNL was at 71.32 lakh.
BSNL has been providing wireline services since the last 22 years, whereas Jio launched its wireline offering 3 years ago.
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The wireline subscribers in the country grew to 2.59 crore in August from 2.56 crore in July.
The growth was dominated by the private sector, with Jio adding 2.62 lakh new customers, Bharti Airtel 1.19 lakh, Vodafone Idea (Vi) 4,202 and Tata Teleservices 3,769.
State-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL lost 15,734 and 13,395 wireline customers, respectively, in August.
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The overall telecom subscriber base in the country grew marginally to 117.5 crore in August, with Jio adding most of the new customers and rural areas growing at a higher rate than urban centres, according to the TRAI report.
“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,173.66 million at the end of July-22 to 1,175.08 million at the end of August-22, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.12 per cent,” TRAI’s subscriber report for August 2022 said.
The monthly growth rates of urban and rural telephone subscriptions were 0.10 and 0.14 per cent, respectively.
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Only Reliance Jio (32.81 lakh) and Bharti Airtel (3.26 lakh) added new mobile customers while debt-ridden private firm Vi was the biggest loser in August.
Vi lost 19.58 lakh mobile customers, BSNL 5.67 lakh, MTNL lost 470 and Reliance Communications 32 customers, according to the report.
Broadband subscribers in the country grew 0.81 percent to 81.39 crore in August from 80.74 crore in July.
Top five service providers constituted 98.39 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers in August. Reliance Jio had 42.58 crore broadband subscribers, Bharti Airtel 22.39 crore, Vi 12.31 crore, BSNL 2.58 crore and Atria Convergence had 21.3 lakh broadband subscribers in August, according to the report.