Ahmedabad: With the disruption of mobile connections and service issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rural Gujarat saw a reduction of some 3.3 lakh in telecommunications subscribers in the April quarter to June of this year. The latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) performance indicators report suggests that rural telecom subscribers in Gujarat fell from 2.788 crore to 2.755 crore from the January-March quarter to the April-June quarter.
Telecommunications operators said many connections expired and could not be renewed due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed due to the second wave of Covid-19 cases in April and May.
“People in rural areas look for profitable plans and tend to change more often than people in urban areas. The reduction in the total number of subscribers includes unused or not renewed SIM cards and their disconnected connections, ”said a source in the telecommunications industry.
Sources said a smaller number of people with multiple connections cut one or more to cut spending.
Industry players also attribute the decline in the number of subscribers to maintenance constraints. “The second wave of Covid-19 struck during the April to June quarter. Because of this, the stores were closed for a long time due to the restrictions and people did not venture out to activate connections or get new connections. As a result, the total number of connections has decreased, ”said a source.
The trend, according to TRAI, was similar across the country. “The number of rural telephone subscribers increased from 53.74 crore at the end of March 2021 to 53.64 crore at the end of June 2021. Rural teledensity also decreased from 60.27% to 60.10% during this period” , indicates the report on performance indicators.