Jio may be the market leader but Airtel leads where it matters the most

There’s hardly any doubt that Reliance Jio has changed the Indian telecom industry and in a short period, the Mukesh Ambani-led company has become the market leader.

Today, Jio not only enjoys a national wide presence but as per the recent TRAI data, the company has over 410.73 million subscribers in the country with a market share of 35.30 per cent. One the other hand, Airtel has over 344.60 million subscribers that take its market share to 29.62 per cent. The merged entity of Vodafone and Idea, VI stands at the third position with 285.96 million subscribers.

While VI is still trying to secure funds and trying to get out of the financial difficulties, both Jio and Airtel have been controlling the Indian telecom industry.

Another interesting point from the data released by TRAI shows that Airtel has gained massively on the Active users front and has gained over 6.9 million users in January while Jio saw a sharp dip in the numbers and its active subscriber data saw over 3.4 million users less.

For those interested, active subscribers are the users who directly impact the revenue of a company and are the paying customers that any company should care about. Hence, even though Jio might have the pole position when it comes to the sheer count of users, however, Airtel is leading in the segment which keeps the balance sheets look healthy.

What made Airtel dial the right numbers? 

As per Trai’s data, both Airtel and Jio had an almost similar number of active subscribers till very recently, However, in January, Airtel has taken a significant lead with 336 million active subscribers compared to Jio’s count of 325 million.

Though in previous months, Jio had seen a significant rise in its numbers, however, this could be linked to migrant workers returning to work and in January the sudden spike has ended giving us a clearer picture of the trend going forward.

Airtel, on the other hand, has been posting positive growth over the last 5 months, hence it suggests that the company has already taken the corrective measures and the result is now-here for everyone to notice.

The company has since long been stating that the current prices are predatory and while they helped Jio to gain a foothold in the industry, these prices are not sustainable. This gave a hint that the company may increase prices again and thus could start another price war.

However, Airtel decided that the wiser way out here is to do away with the users who are not contributing to the company’s revenue. These are the users who’ve been using the Airtel connection as a secondary sim on their phone and had long validity recharges on their connections.

While doing away with this inactive user base, the company not only corrected its active user count but also focused more on the customers who were ok to pay for premium service. As a result, Airtel has been able to turn the table around even with a smaller subscriber base.

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