India's telecom landscape: From subscriber base to teledensity captured in 6 charts

The telecom subscriber base in India crossed 1.2 billion mark in May, with 6.23 million net subscriber additions in the mobile services segment.

Reliance industries-owned Reliance Jio continued to lead the growth momentum with net addition of 4.8 million new customers accounting for about 75 percent of overall net subscriber addition in the mobile services segment.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Jio was followed by Bharti Airtel which added 2.09 million new customers, state-run BSNL (1.35 million), Vodafone (1.13 million) and Idea Cellular (0.19 million).

Aircel and Reliance Communications added 0.17 million net subscribers each.

Loss of subscriber by Tata Teleservices (2.1 million), Telenor (1.32 million), Sistema Shyam (0.25 million) and MTNL (2,136) mitigated growth in the mobile services segment.


Here's a look at how the country's telecom landscape changed over the last one year:

In the past one year to May 2017, telecom subscribers in the country grew by 146.95 million or 14 percent. This is much higher than the growth witnessed in the recent years. From May 2015 to May 2016, the subscriber growth was 5.59 percent (from 1002.05 million to 1058.03 million) and during a year before that the growth was a lowly 6.8 percent (from 938.34 million to 1002.05 million). With the 14 percent growth over the year to May 2017, the tele-density in the country increased from 83.14 in May 2016 to 93.61 in May 2017. That means out of 100, as many as 93 individuals have telecom connectivity as of May 2017.

Of the total 1204.98 million telecom subscribers as of May 2017, the urban sector accounts for 697.06 million (58 percent) and rural 507.92 million. In the past one year, the urban sector subscribers increased by 92.08 million or 15 percent and the rural by 54.87 million or 12.11 percent. In comparison, in the two years until May 2016 urban subscribers witnessed a growth of 4.3 percent each. The rural sector, meanwhile, had witnessed better growth at 7.4 percent for year to May 2016 and 10.4 percent for year to May 2015. Tele-density in the urban sector as of May 2017 stands at 172.28 and that of the rural sector at 57.55. In other words, most individuals possess more than one phone in the urban area and in the rural, nearly half the population doesn't have a phone yet. This divergence also brings out a major irony that punches holes in the government's go-digital drive.


After the launch of Reliance Jio in September 2016, the wireless subscriber base in the country has widened by a robust 151.94 million to 1180.82 million as of May 2017. Out of the total wireless subscribers, 676.65 million are in the urban areas and 504.18 million in the rural areas.

Bharti Airtel tops the wireless subscriber base with 278.6 million as on May 2017, followed by Vodafone (211 million) and Idea Cellular (196.2 million) as May 2017 end. Reliance Jio was at fourth position with 117.3 million subscribers. Its subscribers base expanded by 6 times from 16 million in September 2016 to 117.3 million in May 2017. During the same period wireless subscribers of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular rose 7 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent.

Broadband subscriber base in the country reached 291.61 million at the end of May 2017. Out of 291.61 million, 273.38 million were wireless while 18.23 million were fixed/wireline subscribers. 

After two months of its launch in September 2016, the Reliance Jio became the leader in broadband category with 52.23 million subscribers. Until then Bharti Airtel was the top operator in the broadband category. Jio's broadband subscriber base has hit 117.34 million as of May 2017. Bharti Airtel was a distant second with 53.3 million, followed by Vodafone (40.43 million), Idea Cellular (24.63 million) and BSNL (21.59 million).

(Disclosure - Reliance Industries Ltd is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)

With PTI inputs


Published Date: Jul 18, 2017 11:58 am | Updated Date: Jul 18, 2017 12:16 pm



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