Customer Acquisition Cost of Jio Well Below the Numbers Reported by Idea and Airtel: CLSA

Analysts have been making a thorough breakdown of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s FY18 report and have come to the conclusion that the Mukesh Ambani led telco is pegging a customer acquisition cost which is unbeatable in the market. The telco’s efficiency is not only seen in the exceptionally low customer acquisition cost but also in the employee expenses which have gone down from Rs 2,700 crore in FY17 to Rs 960 crore in the FY18, a whopping 64% fall. This data, as per the analysts’ report alludes that a large portion has been capitalised. This includes staff costs related to Jio’s broadband and enterprise businesses that haven’t yet commenced operations.


The CLSA pointed out that Jio’s acquisition cost for every new subscriber which it acquires is Rs 129. On the other hand, the third largest telco in the country, Idea Cellular’s report for the same figure is as much as 40% higher at Rs 216.

According to an ET report, the said firm commented that these numbers were low for Reliance Jio because “lesser (number of) Jio postpaid subscribers, a large share of Reliance retail stores and a big share of subscribers doing direct recharges via the company’s MyJio app that has over 150 million downloads”.

Although, the same data regarding the cost of customer acquisition is not yet available for the largest telco of the country, Bharti Airtel, an analyst at Global brokerage said “it would be a challenge to arrive at a like-to-like comparison in Airtel’s subscriber acquisition cost vis-à-vis Jio/Idea, since the latter two telcos primarily operate mobile services in India, unlike Airtel which has a significant Africa operation along with several non-mobile businesses”.

ICICI Securities also remarked on Reliance Jio Infocomm’s FY18 report which revealed some stats of the company. The brokerage firm said, “lower Rs 960 crore employee cost could be due to such cost being charged only for 9 months in FY18 and that employee (costs) relating the company’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and enterprise (services) businesses continue to be capitalised, pending a commercial launch.”

Reliance Jio’s entry into the Indian telecom market has undoubtedly hit other telcos financially. The company had reported a 1.2% sequential increase in its March quarter net profit, where it rested at Rs 510 crore on a 3.6% on-quarter rise in revenue to Rs 7,128 crore. In the second quarter also, Reliance Jio stood strong thanks to the immense response from new subscribers.

On the other hand, Bharti Airtel revealed that the company had hit its first net loss in nearly 15 years in the January-March period. Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Idea’s net loss also grew to Rs 930.6 crore in the same period from Rs 325.6 crore, a year ago. This unrest was kicked off by Reliance Jio’s entry into the market in September 2016.

Analysts highlighted that Jio’s depreciation rates were stagnant and remained lesser than what the other telcos reported like Airtel and Idea who used the straight-line method (SLM).

CLSA also said that Reliance Jio’s “depreciation rate on likely utilisation of telecom assets at 3%, is much lower than the SLM rates for peers (read: Airtel/Idea)”.?? In a note which ET saw, the brokerage firm had written “Jio’s depreciation rate for plant & machinery in only 3% vs the likely rate of 11-12% for peers that use the straight-line method,” the firm further added “42% of Jio’s fixed assets were funded by parent (read: RIL) with the rest coming from debt and deferred payments”.

IDFC, on the other hand, remarked: “Jio’s commitments on contracts to be executed, but not paid for, stood at Rs 34,450 crore (in FY18), compared to Rs 17,500 crore in FY17, which reflect upcoming capex”.

It was IDFC’s saying that Jio’s FY18 annual report shows company’s high capital intensity and continued expansion of capital employed to fund business expansion.??Another brokerage firm ICICI Securities remarked “Rs 24,000 crore revenue had been received in advance from Reliance Retail,” which clarified that the subsidiary of the company is acting as the sole distributor of Jio products.

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33 Comments on "Customer Acquisition Cost of Jio Well Below the Numbers Reported by Idea and Airtel: CLSA"


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Kirti | Delhi
June 19, 2018 8:05 pm 8:05 PM

Still waiting for JIO to flush out the 100 million free(multiple) SIMs given free from May 2016- March 2017

June 21, 2018 2:49 am 2:49 AM

Yes, Airtel 4G is so fast that I can’t download a 50MB file in one hour. Great achievement by Airtel.

June 19, 2018 10:45 pm 10:45 PM

Jio is fast catching up airtel- both in terms of revenues & subscribers.

Girish Gowda | BengaLuru
June 19, 2018 10:09 pm 10:09 PM

He is right. Freeloaders like Kirti himself must have taken 50 sims each 2 years back and enjoying.

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
June 19, 2018 10:39 pm 10:39 PM

Lol 50?????That’s too much!!!!!

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
June 19, 2018 9:16 pm 9:16 PM

You just enjoy fastest speeds on Airtel!!!!!

June 19, 2018 5:37 pm 5:37 PM

Airtel acquisition cost the base prise is 179 which gives unlimited calls and 1GB internet for 28 days.I been recently to there Airtel Store,as I need to port out from Vodafone IN ridiculous worse service through out anywhere..if there a tag for worse telecom service that definitely going for Vodafone..

June 20, 2018 9:11 am 9:11 AM

@ashok Thats not what acquisition cost means. It means the amount they have to spend on each incremental customer to adopt their network. It includes advertising, promotions etc. Essentially, total money spent to get new customers divided by total new customers – for a given time period.

June 19, 2018 5:39 pm 5:39 PM

My mistake that’s 185 and they recharge of 179 rest of it maybe of sim cost..

Kirti | Delhi
June 19, 2018 8:02 pm 8:02 PM

@ashok Now there is no charge for Porting, Some stores may take Rs.20 for porting. Ask them i will only come for recharge after successful porting. You can also try any local retailers they only take Rs.20-30 for porting only.

Don’t buy any FRC recharges by them.
Just recharge your number by any app/online as your choice of plan after number get ported.

June 19, 2018 9:34 pm 9:34 PM

I have done that in odisha circle and thats the minimum recharge for any porting done in airtel,and that’s I have done in airtel store..before doing so I have asked in local stores every body charge the same..that’s the minimum amount to port into airtel in odisha circle..

Data Kumar
June 19, 2018 4:09 pm 4:09 PM

JIO is an yet to blast out it’s real revenues they are using all sort of manipulations in accounting/free addons offers… investors would understand only when the truth about their failures in revenue generation comes to limelight.

June 20, 2018 9:12 am 9:12 AM

@kumar Yep!

Adil Wadia
June 19, 2018 9:05 pm 9:05 PM

Agree. Jio is doing accounting jugglery to dress the profit and loss accounts. Auditors are guilty here besides the company. They are playing with the depreciation and amortization to show a profit each quarter.

June 20, 2018 8:48 am 8:48 AM
Jio is following a legal accounting practice as per law. Depreciation depends on the life of assets. Government has defined the minimum life of the asset . All companies claim the maximum depreciation as allowed legally to avoid paying early taxes on profit. For eg a moblie tower owned by a company . – as per government , the asset life is 10 years but in actual the tower may be utilise by the telecom company for 20 years. Value of the tower is say 1,00,000 (one lakh). Life 10 years . So the telecom company will be allowed to… Read more »
Sunny | Lucknow
June 20, 2018 7:45 pm 7:45 PM



June 20, 2018 3:31 pm 3:31 PM
@kunal You went to great lengths (figuratively and literally) to justify Jio’s depreciation policy. The common and accepted practice (nationally and internationally) is to depreciate an asset over its useful asset life – at equal parts for each year. 5 year asset = 20% depreciation per year. It doesn’t matter whether you use the asset 1% in 1st year and 99% in the 5th year. You can keep the ‘social contribution’, ’emotional connect’, ‘blessings of common man’ out of this. Every company including Jio is here to make money by providing a service, plain and simple. Don’t knot yourself over… Read more »
June 20, 2018 7:24 pm 7:24 PM

Being an airtel fan boy , you may not agree on any thing positive about jio.

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
June 19, 2018 5:48 pm 5:48 PM

Enjoy the real deals and don’t talk about things which are in our hand!!!!!I will say one thing data prices won’t go which were there in Dec 2015!!!!!

June 20, 2018 3:33 pm 3:33 PM

@Nikhil I’m sorry kiddo. You can’t just close your eyes to everything as long as you are benefitting. That’s not how a society works.

Love Airtel
June 19, 2018 5:58 pm 5:58 PM

Don’t be so sure. Prices will start rising next year.

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
June 19, 2018 9:17 pm 9:17 PM

You enjoy your beloved Airtel!!!!!

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
June 19, 2018 7:55 pm 7:55 PM

I am off with 5 times 84!!!!!Most probably if offer comes will do two more recharges!!!!!