ICICI Securities on Thursday said in a report that Reliance Jio may “hasten the launch of low-end smartphone” as the largest wireless operator in India “has been losing steam” in net subscriber additions. The report is on the heels of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday releasing the Telecom Subscription Data as on October 31, 2020. The Trai data highlights that Bharti Airtel has now regained its number one position by the count of active subscribers with the operator also leading in net additions for the month of October.
Bharti Airtel Now Has More Active Users Than Reliance Jio
In its report, ICICI Securities highlighted that the industry-wide active subscriber base increased by 2.5 million in October, 2020, with Airtel topping the charts with its 3 million gross subscriber additions. Airtel is now said to have 320 million active subscribers as of October while Reliance Jio active subscriber base is said to have increased by 1.1 million to 319 million.
“Its [Reliance Jio] subs addition has been muted compared to historic average post the tariff hike in Nov’19,” ICICI Securities said in its report. “Total subs addition has also been subdued at 2.2mn. RJio’s net add has been losing steam, and this may also hasten the launch of low-end smartphone.”
ICICI Securities said that Reliance Jio has lost most subscribers in Bihar, it’s largest circle with the operator’s user base dipping by 2.1 million in October. The company also said that the increase in Airtel’s active subscriber base was aided by its net subscriber additions “thus indicating improving quality of subs addition.” Crucially, ICICI Securities said that the Airtel witnessed its highest subscriber additions for the month in its “traditionally weak circles” of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Further, Motilal Oswal in a report on Wednesday also said that Airtel’s “quality of subscribers is reflected in its strong” mobile broadband subscriber additions of 4.2 million in October. The firm engaged in financial services said that Airtel’s mobile broadband subscriber additions has resulted in the operator taking up 59% incremental subscriber market share in the segment.
Vodafone Idea Subscriber Base Declined at Lower Pace
Meanwhile, ICICI Securities in its report said that the Vodafone Idea’s active subscriber base has “continued to decline, but at lower pace” in October as compared to earlier months. The third largest wireless operator in India is said to have lost 1.2 million active users, with its active subscriber base hitting 260 million as of October. Vodafone Idea’s total subscriber base is also said to have declined by 2.7 million in the month.
“[Vodafone] Idea continued its losing streak, though the decline in gross/active subscribers decelerated,” Motilal Oswal said in its report. “We attribute the continuous loss of subscribers to its weak network capabilities and speculation around business continuity.”