The Indian government implemented a telecommunications blackout in Kashmir earlier this year, in response to simmering tensions in the region

India’s third biggest telco, Bharti Airtel, has confirmed that it lost between 2.5 million and 3 million subscribers as a result of the network blackout that accompanied the Indian government’s crackdown on the region of Jammu and Kashmir, earlier this year.

The company said that it expected those customers to re-engage with the company as soon as pre-paid monthly services are reinstated in the region.

“We lost a number of customers running into almost 2.5 million to 3 million in Jammu and Kashmir. This loss is not a permanent loss because of the way we define our revenue earning customer as revenue that we have earned in the preceding 30 days,” Bharti Airtel’s chief executive officer, Gopal Vittal, told journalists from The Hindu.

Bharti Airtel currently has around 279 million subscribers in India, with another 100 million in Africa under its Airtel Africa brand. In comparison, India’s biggest telco, Reliance Jio has in excess of 330 million subscribers across the sub-continent.

Last week, all three of India’s mobile network operators, namely Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, revealed plans to increase their prices in the first half of 2020, in a concerted attempt to boost ARPU in the industry. Indian mobile network operators are currently achieving ARPUs of just $1.50.

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