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Indian telecom sector had 2.5 mln active subscribers in October

Bharti Airtel's active subscribers rose about 3 million to reach nearly 320 million in October 2020.
Bharti Airtel's active subscribers rose about 3 million to reach nearly 320 million in October 2020. (MINT_PRINT)

Bharti Airtel saw the highest subscriber addition in its traditionally weak circles of Maharashtra (0.7 million) and Gujarat (0.5 million).

The telecom industry's 'active' subscriber base rose by nearly 2.5 million in October 2020 to touch about 961 million, and user additions benefited from vanishing impact of SIM consolidation triggered from tariff hike, according to a latest report.

ICICI Securities, in its report crunching Trai's telecom subscription data, said Bharti Airtel's active subscribers rose about 3 million to reach nearly 320 million in October 2020, "most of which was driven by total subscriber net adds, thus indicating improving quality of subscriber addition".

Bharti Airtel saw the highest subscriber addition in its traditionally weak circles of Maharashtra (0.7 million) and Gujarat (0.5 million).

The active subscribers are calculated based on the reported visitor location register (VLR), a key metric reflecting the number of active users on a mobile network.

"Industry-active subscriber base expanded by 2.5 million to 961 million. Subscriber addition has benefited from vanishing impact of SIM consolidation triggered from tariff hike," the report said.

According to the ICICI Securities' report, Jio's active subscribers rose 1.1 million to 319 million in October.

It added that Vodafone Idea Ltd's (VIL) active subscriber numbers continued to decline, but at a lower pace; it fell 1.2 million resulting in an active subscriber base of about 260 million in October 2020. VIL's total subscriber base shrunk by almost 2.7 million, it said.

ICICI Securities observed that Bharti Airtel has regained market leader position by active subscribers.

On an overall basis, Airtel added 3.6 million new customers in October, taking its total wireless customer base to 330.3 million in October 2020, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) data.

Airtel was followed by Reliance Jio, which added overall 2.22 million new mobile customers, taking its total subscriber base to 406.3 million during the said month. Vodafone Idea Ltd and state-owned BSNL and MTNL reported a loss of subscriber base, on an overall basis.

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