TRAI has released its Data for November 2022, and the most important consumer subscriber metrics which everyone is waiting for are out. Except for Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, every other telco, which includes Vodafone Idea and BSNL, lost wireless subscribers. The falling subscriber base should be a concern for both Vodafone Idea and BSNL. In its Telecom Sector report, Motilal Oswal said that Bharti Airtel stood out in Active, 4G Subscriber base additions for November 2022.
4G Subscriber Base
The 4G subscriber numbers really matter as the Industry is at a juncture where 5G services are being rolled out, and operators are making sure 4G users can easily switch to 5G services. For this transition to be smooth and for greater adoption of 5G services, Active 4G subscribers are crucial, while the overall industry telecom subscribers continue to decline. These 4G subscribers are the users who consume data and mark up for the subscriber base who make up the ARPU of telcos.
Also Read: Jio Lost 2 Million Active Users While Airtel Added: TRAI Data for Nov 2022
Active Subscriber Base
MOFSL, in its report, said this industry-wide gross subscriber loss is mainly due to the continued drop in Idea's subscriber base. In addition, the active subscriber base too dragged down due to the fall in Jio's and Idea's subscriber base. MOFSL also stated that this consistent decline in the subscriber base for the last three months indicates the SIM consolidation in Industry. Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea witnessed a decline of 3 million and 2 million subscribers MoM, whereas Bharti Airtel saw 1 million MoM addition of subscribers.
Bharti Airtel Stood Out
Although Bharti Airtel reported slower numbers, the telco stood out, said MOFSL in its report. Airtel added 1.1 million gross and 1 million active subscribers in the month of November 2022. Airtel's active market share increased by 20 bp to 35.5%. Bharti Airtel's incremental 4G additions remained the highest in the Industry at 55% as the telco added 2.2 million subscribers, taking its total 4G subscriber base count to 225 million.
2.2 million 4G subscriber addition in November 2022, after 5G Launch announcements, is something which needs special emphasis.
Also Read: Airtel 5G Plus Announced in Seven Cities of Jammu and Kashmir
5G in India
As of date, Airtel 5G plus is available in 59 cities, including those most travelled and top tourist destinations, and Jio's invite based 5G is available in 190 cities.
Also Read: How Tariff Hikes Can Help Improve the Telecom Industry
Looking at the SIM consolidation happening in the Industry, we can expect a decline in wireless subscribers going forward. Indian telecom is at a critical juncture where one telco is struggling and looking for funding even to pay Network vendor dues without any 5G rollout plans. Telcos are looking forward to hiking tariffs, and Bharti Airtel has already taken up the required Industry Initiative across nine circles.