As per data released by Trai on Wednesday, 4.7 million subscribers were lost by Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd in May. Whereas, in the same month Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd gained 3.7 million users.
In May, wireless subscribers which also include 2G,3G, and 4G also decreased by 0.5 per-cent, during the migration of workers from urban to rural areas because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
As per Trai, there was a huge decrease in the number of wireless subscription in May accounting to 5.61 million. In urban areas, the number of wireless users fell from 629 million at the end of April to 620 million as of 31 May, while it increased in rural areas from 520 million in April to 523 as of 31 May. This led to a 0.70% monthly growth in rural wireless subscriptions, Trai said.
Trai data showed that BSNL gained 201,593 subscribers in May. In May, around 2.98 million users requested for mobile number portability.
In May, Landline network of India also lost its subscribers. At the end of April, there were 19.9 fixed-line subscribers. These number of fixed-line subscribers decreased to 19.77million as of 31 May.
The government has been trying to push for robust fixed-line infrastructure that will speed up connectivity and enable 4G services in remote areas of the country.
Trai chair RS Sharma last week said the country needs to ramp up its broadband infrastructure as wireless networks still have issues of “reliability and continuity”. The government should use cable television networks to build broadband infrastructure, he added.
Sharma said data consumption has soared due to COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, which has also revealed the gaps in services and challenges in connectivity.
Recently, Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal hinted towards a hike in the tariff plans. “You either consume 1.6GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more,” Mittal said at an event, according to PTI. “We don’t want $50-60 (roughly Rs. 3,700 – Rs. 4,400) like the US or Europe but certainly $2 (roughly Rs. 160) for 16GB a month is not sustainable.”