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Amidst shutdown clamour, BSNL also saw rise in user base in December

PW Bureau 

BSNL’s subscriber base has increased even as the government asked the state-run telecom firm earlier this month to consider all possibilities, including shutting down operations, owing to its huge losses New Delhi: Even as reports earlier this month suggested that the government asked loss-making state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to consider shutting down operations, a report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that the company was the only telecom operator, apart from Reliance Jio, who posted an increase in its subscriber base in December last year. According to the report, telecom subscribers in India rose marginally to 119.7 crores in December. Taking their user base to 28 crores, Reliance Jio added 85.64 lakh customers to their network in December, while BSNL added 5.56 lakh users to take its overall base to 11.4 crores.

Mobile subscriber base increased marginally

Mobile subscriber base increased to 117.6 crores in the month from 117.17 crores. BSNL’s subscriber base has increased even as the government asked the state-run telecom firm earlier this month to consider all possibilities, including shutting down operations, owing to its huge losses. “The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,193.72 million at the end of November 2018 to 1,197.87 million at the end of December 18, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.35 percent,” TRAI said in its subscriber report for the month of December.

Vodafone, Airtel lose out

Although Vodafone Idea still remains the biggest telecom operator with 42 crore subscribers, it posted a dip of around 23.3 lakh mobile users. Taking its customer base to 34 crores, Bharti Airtel lost nearly 15 lakh users. Tata Teleservices, set to be merged with Airtel, also lost around 10 lakh mobile customers while state-run MTNL’s mobile subscriber base declined to 46,409, losing 3,963 subscribers. Reliance Communications users dropped to 22,138 with a loss of 1,929 customers on their network. The landline customer base in December dropped to 2.18 crore, with market leader BSNL losing the most subscribers. The broadband customer base rose by 1.3 percent to 51.8 crores in December.