Reliance Jio Fiber, the wired broadband service from Reliance Jio, crossed the 1 million subscriber mark in November, but the company’s pace of customer additions showed a sharp slowdown during the month.
The company added 43,198 Jio Fiber customers during November 2019, taking the total to 1.02 million.
With over 10 lakh fiber users, Jio has already overtaken You Broadband (7.8 lakhs) and Hathway (8.6 lakh).
ACT Fiber broadband, with around 1.5 million wired users, and Bharti Airtel, with around 2.5 million wired broadband users, are still ahead of Jio Fiber.
What may come as a bit of a concern to those eagerly awaiting the launch of the company’s services in their towns would be the sudden slowdown in the pace of expansion.
The number of subscribers added by Jio Fiber during November was only one-third of previous month’s figure, when it had added 1.23 lakh new users.
Jio started disclosing subscriber additions only from October, having started off its Jio Fiber service with around 8 lakh users in September, most of whom were converts from trial users acquired over the previous several years.
There has been much interest in seeing just how fast the company is able to ramp up its fiber service.
The company had initially said it will launch Jio Fiber in around 1,000 towns, and sign up 50 million (5 cr) subscribers.
However, last year, the target was brought down to 20 million subscribers, even as the number of cities was increased to 1,600.
To achieve the target of 20 million users over a period of 5 years, Jio will need to add an average of 333,333 users per month, much more than the 43,198 added during November.
At the rate of 43,000 users per month, Jio will be able to add only 2.6 million users over a five year period.
Part of the reason for the relatively slow start may be hiccups and difficulties associated with any new venture.
Jio, for example, is yet to start giving out connections in most of these 1,600 towns that it has earmarked for its initial rollout. Once connections start getting rolled out in all of these cities, the pace of acquisition is likely to hit several lakhs per month.
Meanwhile, state-owned BSNL, the country’s biggest wire-line communications company, has been losing wireline subscribers at an alarming level.
Even as JioFiber added 43,198 customers in November, BSNL lost 1.64 lakh wired customers and MTNL lost 22,079 wired customers.
Bharti Airtel, however, added 7,793 new customers for its wired service during November.