Mobile Subscriber Base reaches 117cr in March’17
The blistering pace of new customer acquisition in Indian telecom space seems to be cooling off and getting back to normal as Reliance Jio’s free voice and data offers came to end of its validity in March 2017. Since Sep’16, that’s when Reliance Jio launched its services and acquired new customers with unprecedented rate through free voice and data offers, net additions ranged from 13 mn to 20 mn per month with majority gains being witnessed on Jio network.
In March wireless segment rose by 5.98 net additions, the lowest since Sep’16, with total mobile base increasing from 1164.20 mn in Feb’17 to 1170.18 mn in Mar’17, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.51%. Jio registered highest net additions among all telcos 5.83 mn customers taking its total base to 108.6 mn with market share increasing from 8.83% to 9.29%. Incumbent operators will be happy to see acquisition growth subsiding as the damage done by Jio is quite immense on their financials which has triggered new phase of consolidation.
Bharti Airtel, the market leader in Indian telecom, was able to increase its market share by 23.25% in Feb to 23.39% in March with net additions of 2.99mn. But owing to massive reduction in its tariffs to retain its customer base its net profit slumped by 72% in Q417. Idea Cellular, the third largest operator, had 2 mn net additions taking its total base to 195.3 mn but continues to suffer the onslaught by Reliance Jio as it reported second successive net loss of Rs 325 cr in Q417. Vodafone, which is in process to merge with Idea Cellular to become the largest telco in India, witnessed 1.8mn new customers on its network as total mobile base touched 209 mn.
State run telecom PSU BSNL crossed 100 mn mark in March with net additions of 2 mn mobile customers as it continues to stay relevant in a space dominated by private players. Rest of the other operators reported net loss of customers as they are in process of merging or exiting Indian telecom space. Telenor operations have been bought by Airtel while MTS and Aircel are in process of uniting with Rcom. Quadrant has stopped its operations in Punjab. Combined net loss of 8.8mn customers has been reported by these operators.
In wireline segment BSNL showed positive numbers with net additions of 44000 although surrender rate in this segment is still a great concern for both BSNL and MTNL. Tata garnered 12000 new customers while Bharti had 8500.
Broadband subscribers increased from 261.31 mn 276.52 million in Mar-17 with a monthly growth rate of 5.82% owing to aggressive 4G network rollout by telecos. Reliance Jio holds the leadership position in this segment with 108.68 mn subscribers followed by Airtel with 49.13 mn and Vodafone with 37.72 mn broadband customers as on March 2017.
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