After the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm as mobile service provider eight months ago, all were taking about how the Reliance Industries Ltd.-owned firm has changed the way people were using their mobile phones. It started with unlimited free calls — incoming and outgoing as well as roaming — to any network. People made a mad rush to get hold of Jio sim card. But very few realised the kind of impact the operator has made in data usage. Within a short span, Reliance Jio has left behind all incumbent operators in mobile broadband usage… 

NEW DELHI, MAY 1, 2017: Within a span of last six months, Indian mobile subscribers from being voice users have become major data consumers. Entry of one player — Reliance Jio Infocomm — has totally changed the way Indians used to use their smartphones.

So much so that Reliance Jio at the end of February 2017 had maximum number of mobile broadband users with over 10-crore subscribers and command almost 40% marketshare.

In last five months, Reliance Jio has piped Bharti Airtel as numero uno player in the broadband market. Bharti Airtel which enjoyed the status of top wireless broadband player for the past two decades is now behind Reliance Jio.

It all began in September last year when Reliance Jio entered the market. As per TRAI’s September 2016 figures, with 4.6-crore wireless broadband subscribers Bharti Airtel held 24% marketshare, and was followed by Vodafone (3.6 crore broadband users with 19% marketshare), Idea Cellular (3.1 crore and 16% marketshare) and BSNL (2.2 crore and 11%), while Reliance Jio had just started.

But things started to change dramatically since October, when Airtel (4.8 crore subscribers and 22% marketshare) and Vodafone (4 crore users and 18% marketshare) continued on top two positions, Reliance Jio occupied third spot (3.6 crore users and 16% marketshare) within two months of its launch, dislodging Idea Cellular (3 crore and 14%) and BSNL (2.1 crore users and 10% marketshare).

But what left everybody surprised in November when Reliance Jio occupied top position in wireless broadband subscribers dislodging Bharti Airtel from top position which it had been holding for two decades. In November, Reliance Jio had 24% marketshare with 5.2 crore users, followed by Bharti Airtel (20% and 4.4 crore subscribers), Vodafone (16% and 3.5 crore), Idea (13% and 2.8 crore) and BSNL (9% and 2 crore users).

Since then Reliance Jio had never looked back and has only strengthened its supremacy among mobile broadband users.

As per latest figures of February, it now commands almost 40% of the market with 10.3 crore broadband users, followed by Bharti Airtel (18% marketshare with 4.7 crore users), Vodafone (12% and 3.2 crore users), Idea Cellular (9% and 2.4 crore users) and BSNL (8% and 2.1 crore broadband users).

In the first three months of 2017, while Bharti Airtel has managed to stop the fall of its marketshare among wireless broadband users, thanks to increase in its user base after the company announced steep cuts in its mobile and broadband tariffs, other players still continue to see a drop in their broadband subscribers and marketshare. In the past six months, Bharti Airtel has seen its marketshare drop from 26% to 18%, Vodafone from 20% to 12%, Idea Cellular from 17% to 9% and BSNL from 12% to 8%.

                    Sept ’16        Oct ’16           Nov ’16           Dec ’16            Jan ’17          Feb ’17

Jio                 —-               16%/3.6 cr    24%/5.2 cr   31%/7.2 cr     36%/9 cr      39%/10 cr

Airtel       24%/4.6 cr   22%/4.8 cr   20%/4.4 cr  18%/4.4 cr   18%/4.6 cr    18%/4.7 cr

Vodafone 19%/3.6 cr   18%/4 cr    16%/3.5 cr    15%/3.5 cr   14%/3.6 cr    12%/3.2 cr

Idea           16%/3.1 cr    14%/3 cr     13%/2.8 cr    11%/2.7 cr    10%/2.5 cr    9%/2.4 cr

BSNL        11%/2.2 cr    10%/2.1 cr   9%/2 cr           9%/2 cr         8%/ 2 cr       8%/2.1 cr 

   (marketshare / number of wireless broadband subscribers in crores)

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