India has crossed 700 million broadband connections, which includes mobile internet as well as fixed-line broadband. According to TRAI data released on Monday, India had 705.4 million broadband connections as of July 31. This is an addition of 7.17 million connections from the previous month. Only a fraction of these connections belong to wired broadband connections, but that front has seen a breakthrough as well: India now has over 20 million wired internet connections.
Wired internet subscribers still represent a small share of the overall pie — they stood at 18.51 million in July 2019, and at 20.13 million as at July this year. However, the monthly growth for wired broadband subscribers has almost tripled from 0.56% in July 2019 to 1.56% in July 2020. Meanwhile, the same monthly growth for wireless connections has reduced from 1.64% to 1.01%, albeit on a substantially higher base.
Jio has 312.9 million active connections
Jio has crossed 400 million connections, but unlike its competitors Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) and Airtel, a large chunk of these subscribers are not active. For wireless connections, TRAI has a metric called Visitor Location Register proportion, which gives a better idea of how many connections are actually active subscribers. Jio has a VLR proportion that stands at 78.09%, giving it an active user base of 312.9 million active subscribers, who are all broadband subscribers, as the company has an all-IP network unlike Vi and Airtel.
The top five wireless broadband providers as on July 2020 (raw connections) were Jio (400.80 million), Airtel (153.25 million), Vodafone Idea/Vi (115.26 million), BSNL (15.17 million) and Tikona (0.30 million). Note that adjusting for VLR proportion for broadband users alone may not be possible to do accurately with TRAI’s data.
JioFiber grows at BSNL’s expense
On the wired broadband front, households are ridding themselves of BSNL and adopting JioFiber at nearly identical rates, indicating that the company is having some success persuading the state-owned telco’s subscribers to switch. Airtel has been adding subscribers too, albeit not as aggressively as Jio. Note that the below graphic only shows access providers that have seen a relatively significant change in subscriber base, and doesn’t include all top wired broadband providers.
The top wired broadband providers in the period were BSNL (7.86 million), Airtel (2.49 million), ACT Fibernet(1.69 million), Jio (1.16 million) and Hathway (1.01 million). Note that Hathway is majority-owned by Jio, so the two providers account for more connections than ACT Fibernet, and are close on Airtel’s heels.