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Airtel Gathers More Subscribers Than Reliance Jio in Terms of Active Users

15 June 2017

This trend will likely continue as Jio has begun charging customers, prompting individuals to go back to incumbents who have slashed prices in response to Reliance's flood of free offers.

Reliance Jio's addition of 400,000 active subscribers in April actually reflects "its fourth straight month of deceleration", the Economic Times reported, citing the United States brokerage firm. These two reports are eye openers for Mukesh Ambani and his team because of five important reasons.

The US brokerage expects incremental subscriber additions for Jio to remain a challenge in coming months, pointing out that the firm's 400,000 active (VLR) subscriber additions in April reflect "its fourth straight month of deceleration".

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Mumbai: Reliance Jio has defeated its arch rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular in terms of adding new customers in a month. April 2017 was the first month when Jio started charging for its subscribers.

That number is in stark contrast to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea's percentage of active customers, standing at nearly 98%.

ICICI Securities backed Goldman Sachs' view, saying that despite Jio's marginal pricing (with three months complimentary services on Prime membership), the 4G entrant's "active subscribers as a percentage of total subscribers constantly falling with only 71% in April, which is disappointing". Ericsson says that it's a worrying trend for Jio and if similar trends continue, it could potentially prompt a need for more aggressive tariff/promotions from Jio.

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Reliance Jio was also at the peak of the TRAI chart for the top five broadband service providers by the end of April, with 112.55 million subscribers followed by Airtel (52 million), Vodafone (39.76 million), Idea Cellular (24.09 million) and BSNL (21.58 million).

For the first time since Jio's launch (in September 2016), Bharti added more (active) subscribers than Jio. These operators have lost 35 million subscribers since Jio's launch, but still accounted for 23 percent of industry revenue Q4 FY17, according to TRAI data. The slow growth will have a negative impact on financials of Reliance Jio that invested more than $20 billion on its 4G network.

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Airtel Gathers More Subscribers Than Reliance Jio in Terms of Active Users