The first month of coronavirus lockdown has had an unprecedented impact on the telecom sector. It has witnessed the exit of over 8.2 million mobile users, led by urban subscribers, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) revealed as cited in the Livemint report.
The significant plunge could not be compensated by the marginal rise of the rural base when the migrants moved to their respective villages.
Uttar Pradesh was the only service area, where users rose by 1.29 per cent. While all other area services report a drop in the mobile subscription.
The serious blow was faced by Bharti Airtel, which has lost 5.2 million subscribers, followed by Vodafone Idea Ltd, which has lost 4.5 million subscribers.
However, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which has added 1.6 million subscribers. But, this was one of its lowest monthly additions in two years.
Reliance Jio now enjoys the biggest market chunk with 33.85 per cent of the wireless market share. While Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea have a market share of 28.06 per cent and 27.37 per cent, respectively.
The number of telephone subscribers in India in April stood at 1,169.44 million, a decline from 1,177.97 million at the end of March, Livemint report added.
April saw an unprecedented exodus of migrant workers from urban areas to rural areas. This led to a decline in the urban wireless teledensity from 138.41 per cent to 136.22 per cent.
However, this has not pushed the rural teledensity with a significant number. It increased marginally from 58.54 per cent to 58.61 per cent.
Airtel continues to rule the rural base with 95.26 per cent, followed by Vodafone Idea at 88.5 per cent, and Jio at 78.75 per cent (compared to 80.93 per cent in March).
According to the earlier report by TRAI, Bharati Airtel had lost over 1.2 million subscribers in March 2020. While Vodafone Idea has also reported the biggest slump in its subscribers as it lost over 63 lakh customers. The collective loss stand at a staggering 75 lakh customers.