Reliance Jio has surpassed Bharti Airtel to become the second biggest telco in India by subscriber base as per an ET Telecom report. About two and a half year later since the launch of its services in the country, the telco has managed to beat Airtel by amassing 306 million subscribers, whereas Airtel currently has 284 million subscribers. Now Reliance Jio remains only behind the telecom giant, Vodafone Idea which has 387 million subscribers as per the data compiled in December 2018.
An official spokesperson of Bharti Airtel had confirmed its numbers after TOI had sent a query to the company inquiring about the subscriber numbers. If the analysts are to be believed, then given Reliance Jio’s growth rate, we might see it crossing Vodafone Idea in terms of subscribers to become the largest telecom company in India in the coming quarters. The analyst said, “Vodafone-Idea is the most vulnerable of the three private players in the market, and it may just be a matter of few more quarters, maybe three-four before it is overtaken by Jio.”
The journey for Airtel since the launch of the new telco in 2016 has been a tough one. The Sunil Bharti Mittal led telecom operator used to be the top telco in the country until it was surpassed by the merger of the second and third place telecom operators, Vodafone Idea which made the biggest telecom company of India. With this new revelation, Bharti Airtel has now slipped on the third spot. The massive rise of Reliance Jio can be attributed to the dirt-cheap tariff plans and the fact that the company landed in the market with free voice calling and data plans.
Mohan Shukla, CEO of FinXPros, a consultancy firm said about this new development, “The remarkable growth of Jio has been unprecedented and the company is expected to dominate the customer acquisition space through aggressive and innovative tariff plans, including bundling of content packages.”
Reliance Jio Still Aiming for More and More Subscribers
While Reliance Jio has been focused on amassing more and more subscribers at any cost, Vodafone Idea has been shedding out the low-paying customers. The 4G only network of Reliance Jio has helped it in getting more customers for the business. As per a JP Morgan report, In the period between January and March 2019, Reliance Jio added 27 million subscribers. The company has also declined that it does not plan to raise its tariff plan rates since its focus is currently only on addition of subscribers.
It is no doubt that Reliance Jio’s way of attacking the market has financially dented the industry. Bharti Airtel which had accused Jio of “predatory pricing” has slipped into losses itself, whereas Vodafone Idea has been forced to join hands to combine synergies and lower operating costs. In contrast, Reliance Jio continues to register profitable quarters and recorded the highest AGR in the industry of Rs 9,482 crore followed by Vodafone Idea at Rs 7,224 crore and Airtel at Rs 6,440 crore, as per a Trai report.
ARPIT SHARMA (TelecomTalk)