Reliance Jio hits another milestone. Here's why it is significant
Even as telecom operators begin rolling out 5G services across the country, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio has achieved yet another milestone.
Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd’s Jio has become the biggest landline service provider in India, beating the state-owned BSNL.
To be sure, India virtually bypassed the landline stage as the country leapfrogged into the era of mobile telephony. Yet, as landline connections now come bundled with broadband connectivity, they have come in vogue again, as Indian homes and offices come online in big numbers via landline-based broadband connections.
How many landline connections has Jio installed so far?
With 7.35 million landline connections as on August 31, Reliance Jio beat state-owned telecom operator and hitherto market leader BSNL’s 7.13 million connections, according to the latest data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). Third-placed MTNL provided 2.6 million connections.
Why is this a watershed moment for Jio?
As a Business Standard report noted, the development marks a watershed moment in India’s telecom history since fixed-line or landline connections formed the final segment where a state-owned operator was in the top spot. Reliance Jio had been looking to make inroads into the segment over the past few years, and launched Jio Fibre in 2019, which included both landline and fiber-based broadband services.
But hadn’t landline connections been on the decline in India?
Yes, India’s telecom regulator had earlier pointed out the declining number of landline connections in the country as a cause for concern since the same network is also used to deliver fixed-line broadband services. Largely dominated by BSNL and MTNL, the number of landline connections declined from 36.76 million in 2010 to 20.58 million in 2020.
But in the past two years, the figure has increased because of myriad of reasons, including because of the work-from-home scenario since the Covid outbreak.
By how much have landline connections risen?
The number of landline connections rose to 25.97 million in August (according to Trai’s data released on Tuesday), from 25.62 million in July). This has been attributed to better connection plans, the reopening of offices after the pandemic, and more importantly, higher uptake of landline-based broadband connections.
But how big a deal are landline connections in the larger scheme of things?
Of a total 1.17 billion telecom connections in the country, less than 2 per cent are currently landlines. BSNL and MTNL together held 37.4 per cent of the landline market share as on August 31. Jio still leads the wireless segment
How are telecom companies ranked when it comes to mobile subscribers?
Reliance Jio cemented its lead in the wireless segment, gaining 3.2 million mobile-phone subscribers in August. Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel added 0.3 million subscribers in August.
BSNL and MTNL lost 571,778 customers and 470 wireless customers, respectively. BSNL continues to have 110.06 million subscribers in the country. As of August, Jio had the highest user base in the country, at 419.24 million, followed by Airtel at 363.8 million, and Vodafone Idea at 253.14 million.
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