Reliance Jio battles falling share of active users on network

Reliance Jio, Mukesh Ambani’s Indian mobile operator, is battling a falling share of active customers even as the company touts its breakneck growth to attract billions of dollars from top foreign investors. Four-year-old Jio has used rock-bottom prices to become India’s largest operator with its customer base soaring to 397m in June, the most recent month for which data is available.

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This enormous footprint helped Mr Ambani, Asia’s richest man, this year sell stakes in Jio worth $20bn to 13 global investors, including Facebook and Google.

Yet Jio has faced a slide in the portion of active users in its subscriber base even as its total subscriber numbers have continued to grow. Jio’s share of active users fell in June to close to a three-year low of 78 per cent from 84 per cent a year earlier, according to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. TRAI defines active users as the peak number of subscribers connected to the network at a given time during that month. That meant 87m of Jio’s users were inactive at the time of TRAI’s measurements.

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Airtel and Vodafone Idea use narrower definitions of revenue-generating, active customers, which helps to boost their revenues per user. Jio, however, gives its investors a broader figure based on the total that it reports to TRAI.

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