Bharti Airtel, a leading telecom operator in India, is very close to overtaking Vodafone Idea's (Vi) leadership position in the postpaid mobile service segment. Airtel and Vi are the largest postpaid players in India, with Jio still finding its footsteps in the segment. Postpaid doesn't only include services that are offered to consumers, but also to enterprises. But here, we are only focusing on the consumer postpaid business. Airtel recently announced its Q3 FY24 results.
The results show that Airtel's total postpaid subscriber base is at 48.3 million, after growing by 0.9 million during Q3 FY24. But this also includes the IoT (internet of things) connections offered to enterprises. The consumer postpaid business of Airtel is doing really well.
At the end of Q3, Airtel's consumer postpaid mobile segment had 22.3 million subscribers, 0.9 million up compared to 21.4 million in the previous quarter.
How Many Mobile Postpaid Consumers Vi and Airtel Have?
For Airtel, the number at the end of Q3 FY24 was 22.3 million. Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, had 23.67 million postpaid mobile consumers. The speed at which Airtel is adding postpaid subscribers suggests that it is pretty close to overtaking Vi's position here. Airtel is growing at the cost of Vi here as the cash-strapped Vi is losing market share rapidly to Jio and Airtel because of not being able to offer 5G as well as inferior 4G coverage and availability experience.
Airtel Black service is also helping Airtel push consumers from switching to postpaid connections from prepaid which helps the telco in boosting its average revenue per user (ARPU) figure. Airtel has postpaid plans that start at Rs 399 per month, which is the industry standard in India.
Airtel's CEO, Gopal Vittal, said, "We remain on course with our strategy of premiumization that helped us add 7.4 million 4G/5G customers and exit the quarter with an industry-leading ARPU of Rs 208."