The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its monthly data on subscribers (subs) for Feb’21. Industry-active subs rose 3.2mn with Bharti Airtel (Bharti) net add strong at 3.7mn subs; Reliance Jio (RJio) lost 0.2mns subs which explains its renewed aggression to push JioPhone. Mobile broadband (MBB) subs addition stood at 7.9mn with strong addition again for Bharti at 3.5mn. Bharti’s MBB subs market share rose 40bps to 28.4% on active basis, while RJio’s dipped 30bps to 49.8%; first time below 50% since its commercial launch. In the past 12 months, Bharti’s subs addition has outpaced RJio in active and MBB again.
Industry-active subs rose 3.2mn
* Industry-active subs base expanded 3.2mn to 982mn (up 0.3% MoM but dipped 0.5% YoY), which was helped by strong total subs addition of 8.3mn or 0.7% MoM.
* RJio’s active subs dipped 0.2mn to 324mn in Feb’21. Its subs decline was due to 85bps dip in active subs as % (of total base) to 78% in Feb’20 vs 79% in Jan’21. Total subs addition has improved 4.3mn to 415mn. This is the first time since its commercial launch that RJio’s active subs have declined two months in row.
* Bharti’s active subs rose 3.7mn to 340mn, most of which was driven by total subs net adds, thus, indicating the improving quality of subs addition.
* VIL’s active subs declined 0.2mn (vs average 3.4mn in the past 12 months), resulting in an active subs base of 256mn in Feb’21. Total subs base has started growing with net add of 0.7mn, only second time in past 30 months.
* RJio’s active subs market share dipped 10bps to 33% MoM, while Bharti’s stood at 34.6% (up 30bps MoM) and VIL’s dipped 10bps MoM to 26.1%. Bharti is widening its lead in active subs market share against RJio.
* In the past 12 months, RJio has added 12mn active subs; this compared to Bharti’s net subs add on active and mobile broadband was 25.1mn and 41.6mn, respectively. For RJio, active subs and mobile broadband subs (active) are same.
Industry MBB (mobile broadband) subs rose 7.9mn led by strong growth for Bharti
* Industry-wide MBB subs rose 7.9mn to 742mn in Feb’21. The growth was led by continued strong net add for Bharti at 3.5mn (9mn addition in Jan and Feb’21).
* RJio’s MBB subs base grew only 4.3mn to 415mn. Adjusted for inactive subs, its MBB market share stood at 49.8% (down 30bps MoM), while Bharti’s was 28.4% (up 40bps MoM) and VIL’s 18.9% (flattish MoM). It is the first month where RJio’s MBB subs market share has dipped below 50%.
* VIL’s MBB subs rose 0.6mn, which continues to remain slow paced, to 123mn.
RJio’s wired broadband subs was steady at 0.18mn to 2.4mn
* Wired broadband subs were down 0.41mn MoM to 22.3mn (down 1.8% MoM but up 16.7% YoY growth) in Feb’21. Decline was due to BSNL subs erosion by 0.87mn.
* RJio’s market share improved to 10.9% (up 100bps MoM), and net add stood at 0.18mn. Bharti’s net add was up at 0.09mn, and market share improved to 13.4% (up 60bps MoM). Others (local service providers) net add was 0.18mn in Feb’21.
Industry MNP churn rate rose to 1%
* Industry porting dipped to 11.7mn, up 53% MoM in Feb’21. MNP churn rate rose to 1% (vs 0.7% in Jan’21). Looks like Bharti benefited from MNP churn.
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