It is no news that Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is a behemoth of a company. But up until now, we had no idea as to exactly ‘how’ big this behemoth is. Until now. India’s telecom regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority India) data states that Ambani’s Jio is the first Indian telecom operator to have 400 Million subscribers. For context, that is much larger than the United States’ total population.
According to the regulator, the company added 3.5 Mn subscribers in July, making it the first telecom operator in India to register 400 million users. This achievement is even more impressive when you realise that the total subscriber base increased marginally to 1.164 billion in July from 1.16 billion in June this year. Thus, over the one month period, Reliance Jio performed exceptionally well in a rather slow month.
Airtel and state-owned BSNL added 3.26 Mn and 388K mobile customers respectively in July. Vi, the refreshed identity for Vodafone group’s joint venture with India’s Idea, lost over 3.7Mn customers, along with the state run MTNL, which lost 5,457 mobile service customers.
Now, Reliance Jio dominates the country’s telecom sector, boasting a huge 35.03% market share at 40,08,03,819 subscribers. Bharti Airtel, the country’s second largest telecom company, had just 155.7 Mn users in contrast, while the newly created Vi had just 115.2 Mn. The very fact that one has to state over a 100Mn subscribers as ‘just’ suggests the giant Jio has become. BSNL, one of the few, barely surviving public telecom companies, had 23 Mn subscribers at the end of July.
Jio is emerging as a pioneer in the industry, bringing about new innovations in the segment, forcing competitors to upgrade their services as well. The company, having raised over $20Bn in external investments from the likes of Facebook, Google and others, is rapidly developing homegrown 5G tech and prepping up for an even faster pan Indian deployment. The 5G play also involves a slee of other connected digital ventures across retail, education, health tech and more.
More recently, the company announced that it will become the first Indian telecom operator to provide in-flight services, at affordable prices. The feature is limited to international flights for now, but shows that Jio is yet again ready to take the charge of bringing new innovation in the market.