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Wireline broadband subs base falls, overall broadband subs base grows

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BENGALURU: India’s wireline broadband internet subscriber fell further by 1.04 percent in the month ended 31 July 2017 (Jul-17) as compared to the previous month (Jun-17, month ended 30 June 2017). Earlier, the wireline broadband internet subscriber base had eroded by 0.11 percent in the month ended 31 May 2017 (May-17) as compared to the previous month (Apr-17). On both occasions, among the major contributors to the shrinkage of the overall subscriber base was the loss of subscribers by the two government telephone companies – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and its smaller and metro-centric peer Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). At the same time, ACT Broadband, probably the largest private wired internet service player in South India, continued to lead subscriber acquisitions in calendar year 2017 (CY-17, since 31 December 2016 or Dec-16) to July-17  with the addition of about  110,000 (0.11 million) broadband internet subscribers.

It must be noted that TRAI reports indicate data in millions of numbers up to 2 decimal places. Hence it is assumed in this report that a figure of 0.51 million (5.1 lakh) subscribers for You BB for Dec-2015 would be granular to the nearest 10,000. While percentages have been mentioned up to two decimal places, the accuracy may vary, depending upon the exact number of subscribers.

Overall Broadband Internet Subscribers

The good news is that the overall broadband internet subscriber base in the country which includes wired, wireless by mobile device users and fixed wireless subscribers (Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, Point-to-Point Radio & VSAT) increased 3.17 percent to 300.84 million in Jul-17 from 291.61 million in Jun-17. The growth was led by a growth in wireless internet subscribers that access the internet on their mobile devices, with Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd once again leading in the growth.

The top five service providers constituted 89.79 percent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Jul-17. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (128.58 million), Bharti Airtel (58.91 million), Vodafone (42.50 million), Idea Cellular (27.70 million) and BSNL (21.45 million).

Wired Broadband Internet Subscribers

As per data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) broadband wireline subscriber base in India declined in Jul-17 to 18.14 million from 18.33 million in Jun-17. Among the top five wireline broadband internet services providers in the country, BSNL and MTNL lost 70,000 and 10,000 subscribers respectively in the month of Jul-17. Airtel, the second largest wireline broadband internet player did not gain or lose any subscriber, while the minnows- Atria Convergence Technologies – ACT Broadband and You Broadband each added 10,000 subscribers. This implies that the other wireline broadband internet service providers in the country besides those mentioned above lost about 0.11 million subscribers in the month of Jul-17. Amongst the other wireline broadband internet service providers are Multi-system operators (MSOs’) and Local cable operators (LCOs’) that provide internet services through their video cables using technology that includes various versions of DOCSIS technology.

As per TRAI data, as on 31 July 2017, the top five Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL (9.66 million), Bharti Airtel (2.10 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.23 million), MTNL (0.97 million) and You Broadband (0.66 million).

Please refer to the figure below for the total wireline subscriber base and subscriber base of the top 5 wired broadband internet service providers in India in calendar year 2017.

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Wireless Broadband Internet Subscribers

As mentioned above, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio juggernaut still continued to lead growth in wireless broadband internet subscriber growth in the country ten months after its commercial launch on 5 September 2016. Jio has added 56.42 million subscribers in calendar year 2017 (CY-17) until Jul-17.

Wireless broadband numbers grew 10.23 million or 3.36 percent month-on-month (m-o-m) to 292.22 million in Jul-17 from 281.99 million in Jun-17 according to TRAI) data for the month of July 2017. As on 31 July, 2017, the top five Wireless Broadband Service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (128.58 million), Bharti Airtel (56.80 million), Vodafone (42.49 million), Idea Cellular (27.70 million) and Reliance Communications (12.75 million).

Please refer to the figure below for the top 5 Wireless Broadband Internet Service Providers in India.

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As mentioned above, MSOs’ and (LCOs’) or cable video service providers also provide 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.

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