Bharti Airtel will be the frontrunner in grabbing Vodafone Idea's feature phone users, according to analysts. Reliance Jio has been grabbing all the 2G feature phone users of Airtel and Vodafone Idea which is the prime reason behind the telco amassing 400 million subscribers in such a short period. With Reliance Jio and Google rumoured to bring the low-cost Android smartphone, it was expected that the Mukesh Ambani-owned telco would grab all the feature phone users of Vodafone Idea. However, analysts now believe that Airtel is 'better placed' than Jio, thanks to no additional investment required to join the network.
Vi Likely to Have 56% Feature Phone Users
According to an ET Telecom report quoting Goldman Sachs, Vi's feature phone users may not have to shell out extra cash on a 4G handset to migrate to Airtel. At the same time, users are required to spend a little to switch to Reliance Jio's LTE-only network. Analysts also expect that 56% of Vi' total subscriber base are still using feature phones. “Vi has been losing customers in the feature phone segment, and Airtel is better placed than Jio to grab incremental market share as Vi’s 2G customers can migrate to Bharti at no additional investment,” Goldman Sachs said in its report.
Both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are said to launch affordable 4G handsets in the last quarter of 2020 to grab market share. It seems like Vodafone Idea will not launch any such cheap 4G handsets to retain the userbase.
Vi Expected to Lose 50-70 Million Users in Next 1 Year
Struggling telco Vi has been losing subscribers since its merger in 2018. And the same is expected to continue over the next year as well. Vi could lose 50-to-70 million subscribers in the next one year,” said Ratings Agency Fitch. Despite losing subscribers, Vodafone Idea CEO recently stated that the telco would not shy away from raising tariffs. The ET report also adds that Vi could raise tariffs this Diwali itself, whereas it may not be the case with Airtel and Reliance Jio.
Several officials of Bharti Airtel stated that the current tariff levels are still unsustainable in the market, but analysts predict Airtel might not join Vi in raising tariffs this year. And the low subscriber additions mean Reliance Jio could also rethink about hiking tariffs this year.