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Reliance Jio active subscribers still heading south

The total number of subscribers is often a misleading statistic, and in Reliance Jio’s case, it certainly isn’t telling the whole story.

With the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) releasing subscriber data for both wireless and fixed telecoms services each month, there is often an interesting story. This month sees Reliance Jio’s percentage of active users decrease yet again.

When you look at the market share statistics alone, the story is very attractive for Reliance Jio. It is number one in the worlds’ second most populous market with 33.35% market share. Bharti Airtel, the former number one, collects 28.06% while Vodafone Idea, formerly two independent telcos, has 27.37%.

This creates a very clear pecking order, but when you actually look at the number of active subscribers, Reliance Jio is not the market leader some would proclaim it to be.

India active subscribers (in millions)
Operator Total subscribers % active Active subscribers
Reliance Jio 385.43 78.75% 303.53
Bharti Airtel 328.76 95.26% 313.18
Vodafone Idea 314.62 88.85% 279.54

The number of active SIMs could mean a lot or very little. In this case, it perhaps signifies the Reliance Jio business is not as dominant as some would assume and it has not got a handle on subscriber churn.

If we are to assume the percentage of active subscribers represents the genuine subscriber base of the company, Bharti Airtel looks to be in a much more attractive position when it comes to loyalty and sticking power. Ultimately the company which makes the most money is in the best position, but loyalty is a very important factor of the health of a business.

Active subscribers for India telecoms operators (%)
Month Reliance Jio Bharti Airtel Vodafone Idea
April 20 78.75 95.26 88.85
March 20 80.93 96.18 92
February 20 81.26 95.55 90.46
January 20 82.26 95.37 90.36
December 19 82.38 96.14 89.47
November 19 81.6 95.71 88.83
October 19 80.97 95.05 83.51
September 19 81.21 92.98 81.61
August 19 83.11 93.36 82.23
July 19 83.07 94.95 81.91
June 19 84 98.5 84.08

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