Bharti Airtel pips Reliance Jio in subscriber additions
BHARTI leads in 4G and overall subscribers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released subscriber data for Oct’20. Here are the key highlights:
* The trend seen in the last three months sustained as BHARTI continued to lead in gross, active, and 4G subscriber additions, piping RJio and eating into IDEA’s share.
* Gross subscribers increased by 3.2m MoM to 1.15b in Oct’20. Active subscribers rose by 2.5m in Oct’20 to 961m (28m below its Mar’20 peak), highlighting subscriber consolidation in the sector.
* BHARTI added 3.7m/3m gross/active subscribers to 330m/320m in Oct’20. The quality of subscribers is reflected in its strong MBB subscriber additions of 4.2m (v/s RJio’s 2.2m), taking up 59% incremental subscriber market share.
* RJio’s monthly gross/MBB subscriber additions has slowed to ~2m for the last three months, with 2.2m additions in Oct’20 v/s an average ~7m in FY20. Active subscriber additions have continued to lag gross subscribers at 1.1m.
* IDEA’s losing streak in gross/active subscribers continued, though the fall decelerated to 2.7m/1.2m in Oct’20 (after a loss of 4.7m/3.4m in Sep’20). Gross/active SMS fell 30bp/20bp MoM to 25.4%/27.1%.
* MBB subscriber additions slowed to 8.1m to touch 713m (v/s 9.5m in Sep’20), with MBB subscribers now accounting for 74.2% (up 70bp MoM) of active subscribers.
* BHARTI continued its healthy streak in 4G additions, with 4.2m additions v/s RJio’s 2.2m (v/s ~7m in FY20). The same for IDEA turned positive, though it added a mere 0.6m subscribers. BHARTI’s MBB SMS increased 30bp MoM to 23.5%, while that for RJio/IDEA dropped 40bp/10bp to 57%/16.9%.
* Wired broadband subscriber additions stood at 390k, of which RJio and smaller regional peers added 180k each, while BHARTI added 70k subscribers.
Active subscriber base declines yet again
The Telecom industry added 3.2m gross subscribers in Oct’20 to reach a subscriber base of 1.15b (v/s a mere 0.7m additions in Sep’20). This trend has sustained since the past three months, with BHARTI continuing to add higher gross, active, and 4G subscribers than RJio. BHARTI/RJio’s increase in gross subscriber base stood at 3.7m/2.2m in Oct’20 (v/s a 3.8m loss/1.5m additions in Sep’20). While IDEA lost 2.7m subscribers in Oct’20 (lost 26m gross subscribers since Apr’20), the industry has lost 9m gross subscribers since the implementation of the coronavirus-led nationwide lockdown in Mar’20.
Active subscriber increased in Oct’20 by 2.5m to reach 961m, after adding 1m subscribers in Sep’20 (still 28m below its Mar’20 peak), highlighting subscriber consolidation in the sector. BHARTI continued with its strong (3m) active subscriber additions, while RJio added a modest 1.1m in Oct’20.
BHARTI regains the top spot in active SMS
BHARTI continued its strong momentum, adding 3m active subscribers and reached 320m subscribers in Oct’20 (v/s 3.8m additions in Sep’20). With this, it regained its top position in active SMS with 33.3% share (up 30bp MoM). Overall, it added a total of 5.1m active subscribers since Mar’20.
BHARTI has added 3.7m gross subscribers to reach 330m (v/s 3.8m additions in Sep’20 and 2.5m cumulative additions since Mar’20). The quality of subscribers is reflected in its strong MBB subscriber additions of 4.2m (v/s RJio’s 2.2m), taking up 59% incremental subscriber market share
RJio slips to second spot in active SMS
RJio continued to add 2.2m gross subscribers to touch 406m in Oct’20 (v/s 1.5m additions in Sep’20). Its gross SMS grew to 35.3% (up 10bp MoM). It continues to retain the top spot with a 35.3% market share. Monthly gross/MBB subscriber additions have slowed to ~2m for the last three months with 2.2m additions in Oct’20 (v/s an average ~7m in FY20). Active subscriber additions have continued to lag gross subscribers at 1.1m to reach 319m in Oct’20 (after gaining 1.1m in Sep’20). Moreover, it slipped to the second spot in active SMS with 33.2% share.
IDEA continues to witness subscriber churn
IDEA continued its losing streak, though the decline in gross/active subscribers decelerated to 2.7m/1.2m to reach 293m/260m in Oct’20 (v/s a 4.7m/3.4m loss in Sep’20). Its market share in terms of both gross/active subscribers fell 30bp/20bp MoM to 25.4%/27.1% in Oct’20. We attribute the continuous loss of subscribers to its weak network capabilities and speculation around business continuity (given its massive outstanding AGR dues).
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