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Telecom 5G Trends in India

Indian operator Bharti Airtel now has 50 million 5G customers, a year after the launch of its service, and claims its 5G service is now available “across all districts” (all the 28 states and 8 union territories) of the vast country.

“We are thrilled at the speed of adoption to 5G by millions of our customers and we are reaching this milestone earlier than planned,” noted Bharti Airtel’s CTO, Randeep Sekhon. “This marks a big expansion of Airtel’s 5G coverage going from 1 million in October of 2022 to 50 million within just 12 months of the launch. The expansion continues at full speed and I am sure we will continue to rapidly multiply as we work towards nationwide coverage and enable all our customers to enter the 5G age,” he added. 

Airtel’s main rival and overall market leader, Reliance Jio, announced it had passed the 50 million 5G subscriber mark at the end of August. News of the 5G landmark came just days after India’s watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), unveiled the latest national telecom statistics, which showed the early 5G movers growing their overall customer bases, while Vodafone Idea suffered further attrition of its subscriber base.

In July this year, Reliance Jio added 3.9 million mobile customers to take its total to 442.5 million, giving it a market share of 38.6%; Bharti Airtel added 1.5 million mobile customers to take its total to 375.2 million (32.7% market share).

Vodafone Idea, which is struggling financially and yet to get its 5G rollout up and running in any meaningful way, lost 1.3 million customers, taking its total down to 228.3 million (19.9% market share). India ended July with just short of 1.15 billion mobile connections in total, of which 91.3% were “active” (that is to say, were used for any kind of communications service) during the month. 

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