India’s rural mobile phone base slips further, shows Trai report

India’s rural mobile phone base slips further, shows Trai report

Mumbai, Jun 26: India’s mobile phone user base may have improved a bit in April after a steep fall in March, but Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) numbers show the rural subscriber base has consistently gone down since January. The rural mobile phone user base has eroded by 20 million since December.
Barring Reliance Jio, telcos are losing active subscribers. Data shows the active subscriber base is down to June 2018 levels. There are around 931 million active subscribers now (for the top three players) compared to 933 million in June 2018 and 915 million in May 2018. All other players put together have another 68 million active subscribers as of April 2019.
According to telcos and analysts, this is due to SIM consolidation happening after the minimum recharge plans were implemented by incumbents. “The rural penetration improved in the past few years. Most of the low revenue multiple SIMs were in those areas. Hence, the decline is an indication of the cleaning up that is happening,” said a senior executive of a telco.
As consolidation takes place of multiple SIM users choosing their primary SIM (operator), mobile number portability (MNP) requests, too, have stabilised. Analysts at BNP Paribas noted MNP requests have been largely stable in the past five months. In April, it was at 4.6 million. “MNP activity increased after the introduction of service validity packs by Airtel and Vodafone Idea, but the quantum of rise is not large considering almost 200 million subscribers might have been hit,” BNP Paribas noted. India’s rural mobile phone base slips further, shows Trai reportIndia’s rural mobile phone base slips further, shows Trai reportIndustry net active subscriber base fell by 22.1 million month-on-month in April to 999.6 million.