Bharti Airtel might be the leading telecom operator of India, but the telco’s overall 4G subscriber base is less than 100 million and comparatively lower than that of Jio’s. The Sunil Mittal-led telco is looking to up its 4G game and wants to become a primary option for users looking to join a 4G network. As per an ET report, Airtel is looking to attract its existing 2G and 3G customers to upgrade to 4G by providing attracting postpaid offers, bundle device-specific offers and more. The publication achieved this info from an analyst presentation which also revealed that Airtel is planning some loyalty programs and make full use of micro-marketing to cover every part of the country.
To make this happen, Airtel is backing on an estimated capital expenditure of Rs 24,000 crore for FY19. For the unaware, Airtel had a capex of Rs 23,968 crore in FY18 and around the same amount will be spent this year. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, spent Rs 14,000 crore alone in the Q4 FY18.
Airtel is a GSM operator, while Jio is an LTE-only operator. Airtel is offering 4G across 22 telecom circles of India, but the LTE availability on Jio network is much higher than that of Airtel’s. Furthermore, every subscriber which Jio adds will be counted as a 4G subscriber and that isn’t the case with Airtel.
The report also added that Airtel is looking to increase its revenue through Wynk Music and Airtel TV this fiscal. In addition to the broadband and DTH segment, Airtel will likely step its foot into other streams such as cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT).
Reliance Jio is now the third-largest operator in terms of Revenue Market Share (RMS) as very recently it pipped Idea Cellular to acquire the new position. Bharti Airtel is leading the list with 32% of RMS, and the surge happened because of the telco’s Tata Teleservices acquisition.
The ARPU of Airtel stood at Rs 116 at the end of March 2018 and with Jio stepping in the postpaid segment, it’s expected to go down even more. Airtel and incumbent operators are yet to react to Jio’s aggressive foray into the postpaid segment and going by this report, it might happen in the next few weeks.