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Broadband: Jio leads wireless; Hathway enters top-five list

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BENGALURU: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (Jio) continued expanding its subscriber base one year after launch as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data for September 2017 (Sep-17, as on 30 September 2017, month under review). The wireless broadband internet subscriber base in India grew by 8.41 million to which Jio added 70 percent or 5.94 million subscribers during the month.

The heavily indebted Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Limited (RCom), which will shut voice call services from 1 December 2017, continued to lose wireless broadband internet subscribers in Sep-17. RCom lost 1.89 million subscribers during the period under review.

In the meantime, the wireline broadband internet subscriber base in the country continued the decline that commenced in July-17. Wireline broadband internet subscriber base in India fell by 0.106 million in September 2017 to 18.04 million from 18.11 million at the end of August 2017.

Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited (Hathway) entered the list of top five wireline broadband internet service providers in the country at fifth place with an internet subscriber base of 0.67 million. It displaced You Broadband which had a subscriber base of 0.66 million as on 31 August 2017.

Among the top five wireline broadband services providers in the country from the August 2017 list, only Bharati Airtel (Airtel) which is ranked second added 0.01 million subscribers to reach wireline internet subscriber bases of 2.12 million. The third largest wireline internet player in India and probably the largest private sector player in South India- Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) reported no change in its August 2017 internet subscriber base of 1.24 million.

The fall in wireline internet subscribers was once again led by the public sector government telecom companies – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL). The former lost 0.06 million subscribers, while the latter lost 0.01 million in September 2017. The largest wireline internet player in terms of subscribers, BSNL, closed September 2017 with a wireline internet subscriber base of 9.54 million, while its smaller public sector peer closed the month with a subscriber base of 0.95 million. MTNL is the fourth largest wireline internet services provider in the country in terms of subscriber base.

Overall broadband internet service providers

The top five broadband service providers (wireless and wireline) constituted 91.64 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Sep-17. These service providers were Jio (138.62 million), Airtel (62.29 million), Vodafone (45.98 million), Idea Cellular (29.61 million) and BSNL (21.24 million).

Top five wireless broadband internet service providers

As on 30 September 2017, the top five wireless broadband service providers were Jio (138.62 million), Airtel (60.17 million), Vodafone (45.97 million), Idea Cellular (29.61 million) and Reliance Communications (8.98 million).

After Jio, Vodafone added the second largest number of wireless subscribers – 2.42 million or 28.5 percent of the total subscribers added in September 2017. Airtel added 21.4 million or the third largest number of wireless subscribers (25.2 percent while Idea cellular added 0.15 million wireless internet subscribers.

Other broadband internet service providers

Multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) or cable video service providers also provide wired broadband internet services in the country. These cable service providers have a number of subsidiaries and alliances, hence broadband numbers are split as applicable. The consolidated subscription numbers of these entities could be larger than the numbers of some of the wired internet services providers mentioned above. However, it must be noted that some of these MSOs and LCOs could have lost subscribers in September 2017, considering the fact that the top five wired broadband internet services providers have lost only 0.05 million of the 0.106 million wireline internet subscribers in September 2017.

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