Published on 17/05/2021 12:28:19 PM | Source: Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd

Telecom Sector Update - Gross/Active subscriber adds seeing contrasting trends By Motilal Oswal

Posted in Broking Firm Views - Sector Report| #Telecom Sector #Sector Report #Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd

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Gross/Active subscriber adds seeing contrasting trends

4G adds steady for RJio/Bharti; active subscriber adds strong for Bharti

* The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released data for Feb’21. Here are the key highlights:

* Industry gross subscribers increased by a healthy 8.2m MoM (5.6m in Jan’21 and flattish in 9MFY21) to 1.17b in Feb’21, led by subscriber adds in all the three major telcos. However, active subscribers adds at 3.2m (reaching 982m) were just 40% of gross adds – RJio/VIL did not see any gains, and only Bharti’s active adds were in line with gross adds.

* Bharti added a strong 3.7m/3.8m gross/active subscribers to 348m/340m in Feb’21, continuing its average ~4m adds over the past 12M and maintaining its top spot in terms of active subscriber market share (SMS) at 34.6% (+30bp). The quality of its subscribers is reflected in the 3.5m 4G subscriber adds and an industry-leading 98% active subscriber add rate as a percentage of its gross subscribers.

* RJio’s monthly gross and active subscriber adds reflected a contrasting view, with 4.3m gross adds and -0.2m active subscriber adds, taking the total base to 415m/324m. Its active subscriber share reduced to 78.2%, and it saw a 20bp market share loss to 33% after a 40bp loss in Jan’21. However, with the relaunch of JioPhone on 1st Mar’21, nos significantly improved – as indicated in its 4QFY21 quarterly results.

* VIL’s gross subscribers finally turned positive after 15 months, with 0.7m adds (to 283m subscribers), but its active subscriber count has continued to decline (-0.2m) since its integration in Nov’18.

* Industry 4G subscriber adds continued at a strong pace, with 7.9m adds to 742m; 4G subscribers now account for 75.6% (60bp adds) of active subscribers.

* Bharti and RJio saw strong 4G adds with 3.5m/4.3m (42%/51% incremental share), but the difference in RJio’s gross/active subscriber adds could also have a bearing on its 4G active adds (which is not provided). VIL’s 4G adds, although low, stood positive at 0.6m (1.9m in Jan’21). Bharti’s 4G market share improved 20bp MoM to 25%, while RJio’s share remained at 50bp MoM to 55.9%.

* Industry wired broadband subscribers declined 0.4m to 22.3m (after steady adds since the lockdown last year), solely due to BSNL’s 0.9m decline. However, RJio / Bharti / smaller players continued to add 0.2m/0.1m/0.2m subscribers.


Contrasting trends in subscriber adds

The Telecom industry added 8.2m gross subscribers in Feb’21 to reach 1.17b (v/s a 5.6m loss in Jan’21). Feb’21 has seen contrasting trends in gross and active subscriber adds in the industry – despite the steady pace of gross additions, active subscriber adds were just 40% of gross adds at 3.2m. The top 3 players had combined gross adds of 8.7m, with a) RJio inching up the pace of adds from a weak ~2m in the last six months to 4.3m adds, b) VIL gaining subscribers for the first time since its integration in November’18, and c) Bharti maintaining its steady pace of additions at 3.7m.


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