» Business » Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel continue to lose users; Jio gains

Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel continue to lose users; Jio gains

By Romita Majumdar
August 20, 2019 16:56 IST
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The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,183.15 million at the end of May to 1,186.63 million at the end of June.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

The two older telecom majors, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, continued to lose subscribers - 4.17 million combined - during June, while rival Reliance Jio added 8.26 million users at a steady pace, according to data issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Vodafone Idea still led in total subscriber tally at 383.4 million, even as its broadband market share and active subscriber base stayed stagnant, followed by Jio with 331.2 million and Airtel with 320.3 million.


As on end-June, the top five wired broadband service providers were Bharat Sanchar Nigam (9.05 million), Airtel (2.4 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.45 million), Hathway Cable & Datacom (0.84 million) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (0.74 million).

This picture is expected to change with the official launch of Jio’s fibre-to-home service in September.

Airtel and Jio have continued to gradually raise their market share in the wireless broadband space.

The total mobile broadband device user base also grew by 2.3 per cent in June, with 575.63 million devices reported in the system.

Bharti Airtel has the highest proportion (98.5 per cent) of active wireless subscribers.

Vodafone Idea and Jio are on par with 84 per cent.

Jio's addition of 8.26 million customers in June was higher than the 8.18 million it reported in May.

Vodafone Idea had subscriber market share of 32.9 per cent, Jio of 28.4 per cent and Airtel of 27.5 per cent.

The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,183.15 million at the end of May to 1,186.63 million at the end of June.

Urban subscription increased from 674.66 million to 675.58 million; rural subscription from 508.49 million to 511.05 million.

Overall teledensity rose from 89.92 at the end of May to 90.11 at the end of June.

Urban teledensity fell from 160.79 to 160.78; rural teledensity rose from 56.74 to 56.99, picking up from a few months of slowdown since January.

The rural wireless subscriber base added 2.6 million users in the month after constant subscriber loss since January.

The share of rural and urban subscribers in the total number of telephone users at end-June was around 57 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.

Ravinder Takkar is new Voda Idea CEO

The Board of merged telecom operator Vodafone Idea on Monday announced that it had accepted Balesh Sharma’s request to step down as chief executive officer (CEO) of Vodafone Idea for personal reasons.

Ravinder Takkar, currently Vodafone Group’s representative in India, will be appointed as his successor with immediate effect.

Over the past one year, Vodafone Idea has continued to be plagued by rapidly falling stock prices, dropping from Rs 32 same time last year to Rs 5.99 on the BSE when markets closed on Monday.

Sharma will be taking up a new role with Vodafone Group, which will be announced later.

He has been the CEO of Vodafone Idea since the completion of the merger of the two telcos in August 2018. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer of Vodafone India.

He has also overseen the successful integration of Vodafone Idea, resulting in the estimated timescale to complete the integration process.

Sharma has driven the strategy of the combined business since its formation and has also spearheaded the largest-ever equity raise in India.

Vodafone Idea has lately received considerable flak for failing to turn around the minimum recharge strategy that was introduced by both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel around the same time last year.

Airtel tapped the opportunity to improve average revenue per user and reduce subscriber churn, unlike Vodafone Idea.

Ravinder Takkar, an experienced global executive, is currently a Board member of Vodafone Idea and Indus Towers where he is responsible for all Vodafone Group interests in India, a role that he took on in 2017.

Before that, Ravinder was the CEO of Vodafone Romania for three years and CEO of Vodafone Partner Markets in London.

He has been with Vodafone Group since 1994 and brings a wealth of experience in the telecom industry having worked in several leadership positions across Vodafone’s operating companies over the past 25 years.

Ravinder has been involved in the Indian telecom industry since 2007 when Vodafone Group entered the Indian market.

He has held a number of senior roles in strategy and business development and was the CEO of the enterprise business.

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Romita Majumdar in Mumbai
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