The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected different sectors and the telecom sector isn’t an exception. Some of the most popular telecom service providers in India include Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, and others. In recent times, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India [TRAI] has released the data on Wednesday i.e., on 26th August 2020.
As per the TRAI data, Bharti Airtel Limited and Vodafone Idea Limited have lost 4.7 million subscriber base each in May 2020. On the other hand, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited has gained 3.7 million subscribers in the same month, as per the official data. The total number of wireless subscribers of Airtel and Idea including 2G, 3G, and 4G networks declined 0.5 percent in May 2020 due to the huge migration of workers from urban to rural regions across the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
As per the latest data released by TRAI, the total number of wireless subscriptions dropped by a whopping 5.61 million subscribers in May. The total number of wireless subscribers declined from 629 million at the end of April to 620 million as of 31st May 2020 in urban areas. On the other hand, there is an inclination of subscriber base in rural areas from 520 million in April to 523 million as of 31st May 2020.
TRAI said that this eventually led to a 0.70 percent monthly development in rural areas in the case of wireless subscriptions. The fall in the total number of subscriptions in May follows the trend in April. Both the leading telecom companies have witnessed a loss of 8.2 million subscribers in India. As per the expert analysts, the popular telecom operators have lost their subscriber base in the June quarter because of the whopping shift of population from urban to rural locations.
Some other reasons include loss of employment, deactivation of multiple SIM cards, and more. All these happened in June due to the rapid increase in the COVID-19 cases and the restrictions related to this pandemic. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s subscription report for May reads, ‘The number of telephone subscribers in India decreased from 1,169.44 million at the end of April 2020 to 1,163.67 million at the end of May 2020, thereby showing a monthly decline rate of 0.49 percent.’
In May 2020, TRAI noticed that about 2.98 million subscribers have requested for mobile number portability [MNP]. TRAI further stated that ‘With this, the cumulative MNP requests increased from 488.23 million at the end of Apr-20 to 491.21 million at the end of May-20, since the implementation of MNP.’
Apart from the mobile network connections, some of the landline network subscribers in India were also declined during May 2020. The total fixed-line subscribers diminished from 19.9 million at the end of April to 19.77 million as of 31st May 2020. The Indian Government has been striving hard to force robust fixed-line infrastructure that will boost the connectivity and enables 4G services in the remote locations of the country.
The chairperson of TRAI, RS Sharma said that the country requires to enhance its broadband infrastructure as there are still some of the wireless network issues like reliability and continuity. He further said that the Government must access cable television networks to build broadband infrastructure. He said that the data consumption has increased at a rapid pace due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns. This eventually disclosed the gaps in services and issues in connectivity.Sharma said, ‘Covid-19 demonstrated the difficulty of connectivity as well as the ongoing challenge of coverage service gaps in prime areas. Very small aperture terminals can be used to provide the backhaul connectivity for mobile networks to connect the unconnected areas.’ Besides Idea and Airtel, BSNL also lost 1.34 lakh wireline customers in the country. To know the upcoming and latest telecom services across India, just stay tuned to this website.