After remaining on top as India's biggest wireless and broadband service provider for many months now, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio has dethroned state-run BSNL to emerge as the biggest wireline or landline service provider in August. Reliance Jio added 26.2 lakh wireline subscribers in August, grabbing a market share of 28.31%.

It was followed by Airtel at 1.1 lakh net addition of wireline subscribers, which held a 23.86% market share. BSNL, which lost 15,734 wireline subscribers, saw its market share dipping to 27.46%.

MTNL, whose market share declined to 10.02% in August, lost 13,395 wireline subscribers, shows the latest data by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India).

For the first time, a private telecom service provider has become a top landline player in the country. The Trai data shows Jio's landline userbase at 71.3 lakh, while that of BSNL's at 71.3 lakh as of August 2022.

The total wireline subscribers increased from 25.63 million (2.5 crore) at the end of July to 25.97 million at the end of August, marking a 1.34% rise. The share of urban and rural subscribers in total wireline subscribers was 92.35% and 7.65%, respectively, by August 2022.

In the wireless users' category, Reliance Jio added 3.2 million subscribers in August 2022, up from 2.9 million users added in July 2022. India's second-largest telco Bharti Airtel was way behind and added 3.2 lakh users in August as compared to 5.13 lakh in July.

All other telcos -- Vodafone Idea, BSNL, MTNL and Reliance Communication – lost substantial users in the month. While Vodafone Idea lost 1.9 million users in August vs 1.5 million users in July, government PSUs – BSNL and MTNL – lost 5.6 lakh and 470 users, respectively.

As of August 31, 2022, Reliance Jio's wireless market share was 36.48% vs 36.23% in July, while Airtel stood second at 31.66%; its market share was 31.66% in July as well. Vodafone Idea's market share declined to 22.03% in August, while BSNL's market share dipped to 9.58%.

With this, Reliance Jio commanded the largest wireless subscriber base, which increased to 41.9 crore as of August 31, 2022, followed by Bharti Airtel whose subscriber base surged to 36.3 crore as of August 31. The wireless subscriber base for Vodafone Idea declined to 25.5 crore at the end of July 31, 2022. BSNL’s wireless user base shrank to 11 crore as of August 31.

As of August 31, 2022, the private access service providers held a 90.17% market share while telecom PSUs -- BSNL and MTNL -- accounted for a market share of only 9.83%.

The total wireless subscribers increased from 1,148.03 million at the end of July to 1,149.11 million at the end of August, recording a monthly growth rate of 0.09%. Wireless subscriptions in urban areas increased from 626.74 million at the end of July to 627.09 million by August and wireless subscriptions in rural areas increased from 521.29 million to 522.02 million during the same period.

Out of the total 1,149.11 million wireless subscribers by August 2022, around 88.19% or 1,013.46 million were active on the date of peak VLR. Bharti Airtel has the maximum proportion -- 98.31% -- of its active wireless subscribers (VLR) as against its total wireless subscribers (HLR).

The overall wireline teledensity in India increased to 1.88% by August 2022, with urban and rural wireline teledensity at 4.96% and 0.22%, respectively. In terms of the broadband network, the total subscribers increased from 807.42 million at the end of July to 813.94 million at the end of August, a monthly growth rate of 0.81%. The top five service providers constituted 98.39% market share in this category. These were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (425.80 million), Bharti Airtel (223.98 million), Vodafone Idea (123.12 million), BSNL (25.80 million) and Atria Convergence (2.13 million).

India’s two biggest telecom operators -- Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel – have also soft-launched much-awaited ultra-fast 5G services in the country. During the recently-held 5G spectrum auctions, 51,236 MHz worth of spectrum was allocated to telecom companies. The government says the overall economic impact of 5G on India is expected to reach $450 billion by 2035.

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