NEW DELHI: Subscriber-led competition or a battle to obtain higher number of consumers is likely to continue among rivals including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in the Indian telecom space, a credit rating agency ICRA Tuesday said
“In a continuing competitive industry scenario, the larger telcos are vying for the subscriber base of the exiting telcos by offering competitive tariff plans. The subscriber-led competition is expected to continue for a few more quarters,” Harsh Jagnani, Sector Head & Vice President, Corporate Ratings at ICRA said.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio’s disruptive foray in September 2016 on the back of freebies led incumbents to match their voice and data tariff and that has also triggered a spree among operators to add new subscribers.
Greenfield operator Jio has added more than 100 million consumers within first six months of ist service launch. It added 16 million subscribers in first month of operations, followed by 19.6 million in October, 16.3 million in November and its highest subscriber addition so far of 20.3 million in December 2016.
ICRA said that the top four service providers added 32.6 million mobile subscribers in March 2018 with Jio adding 9.4 million subscribers followed by Idea Cellular’s 9.1 million, Bharti Airtel’s 8.4 million and Vodafone India’s 5.6 million subscribers respectively.
Meanwhile, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) in its finding last week said that the UK-based Vodafone India’s 664, 816 subscribers were eroded in April 2018.
The total telecom subscriber base in the country stood at 1,206.2 million in March 2018, following a strong addition in March, a highest monthly addition since December 2016, the Gurugram-based firm said in a statement.
Post decline for the last two months, the active subscriber base rose by 17 million subscribers in March 2018, according to it.
The top four telcos together had a subscriber base of 924.7 million, strengthening their combined market share to 78.1% as of March 2018 as compared to 67.2% as of March 2017.
The broadband subscriber base, according to ICRA, has maintained a strong growth momentum with Y-o-Y increase of 49% in March 2018.
“Considering that wireless broadband subscribers still constitute only around 33% of the total wireless subscribers in the country, there is considerable growth potential in this segment and ICRA expects this segment to show healthy growth going forward,” Jagnani added.