- Vodafone Idea added 1.7 million subscribers for the first time since the merger
- Private operators now command the majority market share in wireline segment
- Jio replaces MTNL as the third-largest operator by wireline market share
The year 2021 started off with an interesting twist for the telecom industry, with January being a month of many firsts. For the first time ever the private operators commanded a majority subscriber market share in the wireline segment which had always been dominated by the PSU operators BSNL and MTNL. For the first time in 15 months since its inception, Vodafone Idea (Vi) reported a gross addition of wireless subscribers. Reliance Jio overtook MTNL to become the third-largest operator by wireline subscriber market share. Airtel took a significant lead over Jio in the VLR subscriber figures.
The overall wireless subscriber base increased by 9.64 million from 1153.77 million at the end of December to 1163.41 million at the end of January 2021. The overall wireline subscriber base increased marginally by 0.03 million from 20.05 million at the end of December to 20.08 million at the end of January 2021.
Wireless Subscriber Market share:
As of 31st January 2021, Reliance Jio is leading with 35.30% wireless subscriber market share which translates to 410.73 million subscribers, Bharti Airtel is at second position with 29.62% market share (344.60 million subscribers), whereas Vodafone Idea comes third with 24.58% market share (285.97 million subscribers). BSNL commands 10.21% (118.79 million) while MTNL commands just 0.28% market share (3.31 million).
Wireless Subscriber Gain/Loss in January:
Bharti Airtel led the new wireless subscriber addition race in January 2021 with 5.8 million net additions, Reliance Jio followed with 1.9 million wireless subscriber additions. Vodafone Idea finally broke the subscriber loss spell with 1.7 million net adds in January. While BSNL added over 83 thousand wireless subscribers and MTNL lost over 8 thousand.
Active subscriber base, VLR data:
Visitor location register (VLR) is an indicator of what percentage of the total subscriber base is comprised of active users. Bharti Airtel leads the race with a VLR score of over 97% and has the lowest inactive user base of 8.83 million, it is followed by Vodafone Idea with a score of over 89% (inactive user base 29.65 million). Reliance Jio has a VLR score of over 79% (inactive user base 86.21 million), whereas BSNL lags behind with a score of 51% (inactive user base 57.39 million) and MTNL finishes last with a VLR score of nearly 20% (inactive user base 2.65 million).
Wireline subscriber market share:
This is the first time that the combined market share of private telcos has crossed the 50% mark and the combined market share of PSU operators has dipped below the 50% mark. BSNL continues to lead with a 34.64% share of the wireline subscriber market share in October 2020, which translates to 6.95 million subscribers. Bharti Airtel at the second spot commands a 23.12% share (4.64 million subscribers). Reliance Jio has jumped up to the third position with a 14.70% market share (2.95 million). MTNL follows at the fourth spot with a 14.65% share (2.94 million subscribers). Vodafone Idea holds only 2.54% share (0.51 million subscribers).
Wireline Subscriber Gain/Loss in January:
Reliance Jio added over 1.9 lakh new wireline connections in January 2021, followed by Bharti Airtel who added over 76 thousand new connections. Vodafone Idea lost over 11 thousand wireline connections whereas MTNL lost over 18 thousand. BSNL continued the trend of losing subscribers with the loss of over 2.1 lakh connections in January.
Broadband subscriber market share:
Broadband is considered when the speed offered is higher than 512 Kbps irrespective of it being a wired or wireless connection. As on 31st January 2021, the top five Wired Broadband Service providers by subscriber base were BSNL (7.69 million), Bharti Airtel (2.90 million), Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (2.25 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.80 million), and Hathway Cable & Datacom (1.06 million). The top five Wireless Broadband Service providers were Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (410.73 million), Bharti Airtel (181.73 million), Vodafone Idea (122.71 million), BSNL (18.98 million) and Tikona Infinet (0.31 million).