RCOM drops to fourth place

7 Nov 2013

Reliance Communications (RCOM) has been overtaken as the third largest wireless provider in India by Idea Cellular following the disconnection of more than ten million inactive users from the former’s network in September 2013. RCOM’s user base dropped to 116.262 million as the cellco shed 10.493 million subscribers in September, according to recent data published by sector watchdog the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). By contrast, Idea registered net additions of 1.208 million in that month, increasing its subscriber total to 127.228 million. Ahead of Idea and RCOM, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India maintained a healthy lead, claiming 193.457 million and 155.543 million mobile customers respectively. Commenting on the change, a spokesperson for RCOM told news portal BGR.in that: ‘RCOM has deactivated the services of around ten million unprofitable, low-end subscribers at the lowest end of the ARPU range, who had not used their phones for over two months. This is in line with the industry practice and has no impact on customer experience or [RCOM’s] revenues. We continue to focus on improving the contribution from profitable minutes on our network.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the deactivation of inactive subscribers on RCOM’s network in H2 2012 saw the cellco’s user base fall by more than 36 million from 154.6 million in June 2012 to 118.528 million by the end of the year.