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Broadband internet subscriber additions small in April 2019

This is only the fourth time in 15 month that month-on-month subscriber base grew by less than 1cr

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BENGALURU: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data for the month ended 30 April 2019 (Apr-19, month under review) reveals that India’s broadband subscriber base grew by 86.4 lakh (8.64 million, 0.864 crore). This is only the fourth time over the past 15 months that less than 1 crore subscribers were added, the earlier occasions being for the month ended 31 August 2018 (34.1 lakh, 3.14 million 0.314 crore), 31 December 2018 (66.5 lakh, 6.65 million, 0.665 crore) and 30 April 2018 (71.9 lakh, 7.91 million, 0.791 crore).  It must be noted that TRAI indicates subscriber data in terms of millions  up to two decimal points, hence the granularity of subscriber data in this report is limited to 10,000.

Growth in the country’s broadband internet subscriber base was led by mobile (phones and dongles), followed by growth in subscribers of Fixed wireless- WiFi, Wi Max, Point to Point, Radio, Vsat internet services. Wired broadband internet subscriber base saw a decline in Apr-19.

As mentioned above, broadband internet subscribers grew by 86.4 lakh (8.64 million, 0.864 crore), or by 1.53 percent to 5,719.5 lakh (571.95 million, 57.195 crore) in Apr-19 as compared to 5,633.1 lakh (563.31 million, 56.331 crore) at the end of Mar-19. Mobile broadband internet subscribers increased by 78.8 lakh (7.88 million or 0.788 crore) in Apr-19 or 1.45 percent to 5,522.5 Lakh (552.25 million, 55.225 crore) from 5,443.7 lakh (544.37 million, 54.437 crore) in Mar-19. Wired broadband internet subscriber based declined by 0.04 percent or declined by about 10,000 to 184.1 lakh (18.41 million, 1.841 crore) in Apr-19 from 184.2 lakh (18.41 million or 1.841 crore) in Mar-19.  Subscribers of Fixed wireless- WiFi, Wi Max, Point to Point, Radio, Vsat internet services more than doubled (increased by 147.22 percent, 7.6 lakh or 0.76 million or 0.076 crore) during the period under review to 12.8 lakh (1.28 million, 0.128 crore) from 5.2 lakh (0.52 million or 0.052 crore) in the previous month Mar-19.

The top five broadband internet service providers constituted 98.68 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Apr-19. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd or Jio  which had 3,148.1 lakh (314.81 million, 31.481 crore);  Bharti Airtel  or Airtel with 1,157.1 lakh (115.71 million, 11.571 crore); Vodafone Idea 1,096.6 lakh (109.66 million, 10.966.crore), BSNL 222.9 lakh  (22.29 million, 2.229 crore) and Tata Tele. Group 19.4 lakh (1.94 million, 0.194 crore).

Wireless broadband internet subscribers

As on 30 April, 2019, the top five Wireless Broadband Service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd  with 3,148.1 lakh (314.81 million, 31.481 crore), Bharti Airtel 1,133.3 lakh (113.33 million, 11.333 crore), Vodafone Idea 1,096.4 lakh (109.64 million, 10.964 crore), BSNL 123.9 lakh (12.39 million, 1.239 crore) and Tata Teleservices 15.4 lakh (1.54 million, 0.154 crore).

As has been the case right from the time it was launched, growth in wireless broadband internet subscribers was led by Jio which added 80.9 lakh (8.90 million, 0.809 crore) subscribers in Apr-19.  Airtel added 10.7 lakh (1.07 million, 0.107 crore) during the period, while Vodafone-Idea lost 5.6 lakh (0.56 million, 0.56 crore). Also, BSNL lost 5.4 lakh (0.54 million, 0.054 crore) subscribers during the period under review.

Wired broadband internet subscribers

As on 30 April, 2019, the top five Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL with 91.5 lakh (9.15 million, 0.915 crore), Bharti Airtel 23.8 lakh (2.38 million 0.238 crore), Atria Convergence Technologies  or ACT with 14.3 lakh (1.43 million, 0.143 crore), Hathway Cable & Datacom or Hathway with 8.2 lakh (0.82 million, 0.082 crore) and MTNL 7.5 lakh (0.75 million, 0.075 crore).

Both the public sector service providers BSNL and MTNL lost subscribers in Apr-19, while the three private players – Airtel, ACT and Hathway gained subscribers in Apr-19. BSNL lost 20,000 subscribers, while MTNL lost 40,000 subscribers in Apr-19. Hathway and Airtel added 50,000 subscribers each, while ACT added 20,000 subscribers during the month under review. Overall, the top 5 subscribers added a net of 60,000 subscribers in Apr-19, while the number of wired broadband subscribers in India shrank by 10,000, hence, the other players which include MSOs’ and LCOs’ saw their wired broadband subscriber base decline by 70,000.

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