The Adani Group was a surprise entry in the spectrum auction for almost everyone. It changed the market sentiment quickly, and people started questioning the authority that Airtel and Jio would have post the arrival of the Adani Group. Some even thought that with the kind of money Adani Group has, it could pull off what Jio did back in 2016. Well, it is not that simple.
Jio came to the market and could make the impact that it did by majorly remodelling the way Indians consumed telecom services. The differentiator wasn’t just the money that Reliance Industries Limited backed Jio had; but also the strategy that the company adopted in the consumer space. The point to focus on here is that Jio was in the game of scale with consumers. However, Adani Group is in the game of capturing revenues in the enterprise segment and is not focusing on the consumer space as of now.
Thus, bidding heavily for a ton of spectrum never would have made any sense for the company. Especially when the spectrum price is quite high. The Adani Group is yet to showcase what it can do with the 5G spectrum, the way Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea have already proved. Enterprises won’t just latch on to the services of Adani Group because they have a good brand; they would want proof of their technology which the group doesn’t have right now.
But with the trial spectrum that Jio, Airtel and Vi got, they have made big strides in developing relevant use cases for the Indian market and enterprises. So, the telcos have a big early mover advantage on the Adani Group. Further, in the telecom space, Adani is still a very fresh name. While it is a big brand overall, the telecom space isn’t easy to navigate through, even for the big names.
Even if the Adani Group plans to enter the consumer space one day, users won’t magically be added to the company’s portfolio. To build a subscriber base, the Adani Group would need to do something new. Same tariffs as Jio, Airtel or Vodafone Idea would not be enough. First of all, the company would need to lay down some incentives the way Jio did and then also offer strong network services.
Adani Group Can Focus on 5G SA
Adani Group could start fresh with 5G SA and do something that the other telcos are not doing. The company is going to be competing with the kings of the Indian telecom sector – Airtel and Jio. Jio is soon expected to be a listed entity in the Indian stock exchanges which will boost the money it has and offer more room for rapid investments. Airtel, on the other hand, is building an ecosystem of services powered by its mobile networks, which will be hard to beat for any new player.
To expect that Adani Group would be able to pull off what Jio did is a little foolish. It was a different time and a different market. Right now, the Adani Group is likely going to play a very passive game in the telecom sector. It will be interesting to see when the group goes on offence to change things and how it plans to do it!