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Reliance Jio Infocomm has entered a new league, having notched up more than 200 million subscribers at the end of May; the telco hit this milestone in the shortest time ever to the mark — less than 24 months.

With this Jio is likely to overtaken Idea Cellular’s 217-million user base and would be snapping at the heels of Vodafone, which has around 222 million users. Bharti Airtel is the market leader with 309 million wireless users.

Jio is, however, the undisputed number one player in the data segment. Competitive data prices — as low as Rs 5 per GB — have enabled Jio to maintain a lead over its peers; data traffic at 5,060,000 million MB during January-March quarter of FY18 was much higher than Bharti’s 1,539,746 million MB.

Jio’s data usage per customer at 9,700 MB at the end of March is also the highest in the industry as Bharti’s usage stood at 6,586 MB per customer.Jio, a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries (RIL), had reported a subscriber base of 187 million at end March. In other words, it had added close to 9-10 million users each in April, May and June.

This milestone is likely to be announced by RIL chairman Ambani at the company’s annual general meeting on July 5.Jio did not respond to an email query on the subject till the time of going to press.Jio, which commenced commercial services in September 2016, added 50 million subscribers in November that year itself. By February 2017 it had notched 100 million users and by November that year it had added 150 million subscribers to its network.

The country’s total 1.13 billion mobile subscriber base is largely shared between four operators — Bharti Airtel, Jio, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India.While the three incumbents have been adding around 1.5-2 million users every month, Jio’s additionhas been in the range of 7-8 million.

While Jio’s subscriber base has grown at a scorching pace thanks to the free voice services for domestic calls it started, it still largely has been a secondary connection for the majority as the mobile number portability data shows that it has not been able to corner subscribers from rival incumbent networks.

Mobile number portability — the facility to retain one’s number while changing operators — does not show any material change with the coming of Jio. In fact, the pecking order in terms of gains by way of MNP remains intact with Idea Cellular at the top, followed by Vodafone, Bharti and then Jio. Its blended average realisation per user at Rs 137 is the highest in the industry with Bharti’s at Rs 116. On total voice traffic though, Jio with 372,180 million minutes is lower than Bharti’s 592,657 million minutes. This is because Bharti’s total user base is almost double of Jio’s. However, usage per customer of Jio’s was higher at 716 minutes, compared to Bharti’s 670 minutes.

Jio’s monthly churn remains the lowest in the industry at 0.25%

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 June 2018

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