Net profits plummet as subscribers continue to gobble up India’s ultra cheap data tariffs

The total number of mobile subscribers in India has reached 1.2 billion, according to a report by the country’s telecoms regulator, Trai.

Indian telcos added 26 million customers in March 2018 alone, giving a staggering insight into the sheer scale of the Indian market.

“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,179.83 million at the end of February 2018 to 1,206.22 million at the end of March 2018, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 2.24 per cent,” the report said.

Growth in India’s mobile telecoms market has been spurred by a price war between the country’s main players Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.

According to a report in the Asia Times, Bharti Airtel added 8.4 million subscribers to its books in March this year, bringing its total number of subscribers to 304.2 million.

Its main competitor, Reliance Jio, added 9.14 million subscribers in the same period, bringing its total number of subscribers to 186.56 million.

The forthcoming merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular is expected to create India’s third biggest telco, which will be capable of challenging Reliance Jio and eventually Bharti Airtel in terms of scale and market penetration.

Despite the synergies afforded to Indian telcos by these unparalleled levels of scale, India remains one of the most competitive markets in the world with operators reporting huge drops in profitability and trying desperately to raise funds in order to weather the current market conditions.