Bharti Airtel now has the most active subscribers in 14 months as concerns stemming from protests by farmers in northern India affected Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.’s customer accretion.
The Sunil Mittal-controlled mobile operator added as many as 5.5 million regularly paying users in December over the preceding month, according to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Reliance Jio added nearly 3.2 million subscribers, while Vodafone Idea Ltd. lost 1.5 million subscribers.
Reliance Jio saw its towers vandalised late last year during the farmer protests in Delhi-NCR, Punjab and Haryana, and also accused rivals of using the opportunity to port out its users, something that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea rejected.
While Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio’s active subscriber base grew 1.7% and 1% over the preceding month, respectively, Vodafone Idea’s fell 0.6%.
Bharti Airtel added 4.05 million gross subscribers in December—8.5 times higher than Reliance Jio. The Sunil Mittal-led company outpaced Reliance Jio on this count for the fifth straight month.
While India’s newest mobile operator added 0.48 million users—the lowest since December 2019—Vodafone Idea lost 5.7 million gross subscribers, the highest in last nine months.
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio’s gross subscriber base grew 1.2% and 0.1% month-on-month in December, while Vodafone Idea’s declined 2%.
The Indian telecom industry continued to add active subscribers for the fifth straight month in December even as net additions fell over a month ago.