Mobile subscriber base grows in July, broadband penetration continues to rise; Jio continues to retain top rank

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While Jio and Airtel reported a month-on-month addition of 3.6 million and 3.3 million subscribers respectively, Vodafone Idea continued to lose subscribers 

After declining consistently for four months since the nationwide lockdown was imposed, the industry-wide telecom subscribers grew in July 2020, attributable to Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel, said a report.

While RJio and Airtel reported a month-on-month addition of 3.6 million and 3.3 million subscribers respectively, Vodafone Idea (VIL) continued to lose subscribers even in July 2020 (down 3.7 million), said an India Ratings (Ind-Ra) report.

“The visitor location register subscriber base data, which represents the active subscribers in the overall wireless subscriber base and the growth in the industry revenue, are the more appropriate indicators, which need to be monitored over the next six to nine months. The industry-wide revenue (excluding Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) remained almost stable in 1QFY21,” the report said.

The number of broadband subscribers increased to 60 percent of the overall wireless subscriber base in July 2020 from 59 percent in June 2020 and 47 percent in March 2019.

In July 2020, the number of broadband subscribers grew by 7 million, attributable to BAL and RJio.

This along with a rise in data tariffs reflects that the Indian telecom industry is moving towards a higher ARPU (average revenue per user) regime.

Data tariffs rose to Rs 11.2/GB in 4QFY20 from Rs 8.5/GB in 3QFY20, as reported by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The tariff differentials for the pre-paid and post-paid tariff plans among the telcos are already narrowing down over the past one year and the recently announced post-paid tariff plans by RJio indicate the inclination of the largest player in the industry towards the same.

RJio continues to be the largest player in the Indian telecom industry in terms of subscriber market share (SMS) and revenue market share (RMS).

RJio continues to garner share largely at the expense of VIL. RJio holds SMS of 35 percent in July 2020 and RMS of 38.3 percent in 1QFY21.

While Bharti Airtel has shown resilience and its overall wireless SMS increased, albeit moderately to 28 percent in July 2020 from 27.8 percent in June 2020, VIL continues to lose SMS (July 2020: 26.3 percent; June 2020: 26.7 percent).

RJio also had a dominant market share of 58.7 percent in the broadband segment (as against 16.8 percent for VIL and 22.7 percent for BAL), since all of RJio customers are in the broadband category.

VIL is losing market share, with the broadband subscriber base as well (July 2020: 16.8 percent; June 2020: 17.2 percent).

Image credit: The Hindu

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