Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released its November 2022 report of the Telecom Subscription Data. The November data from TRAI has a lot of insights and connecting data if we closely look at it. This data is crucial as it comes at a time when India is going through one of the world's fastest 5G rollouts. Although Jio is trying to make people recharge to get a Welcome Offer Invite, as Jio's 5G launch is a beta invite-based approach, it looks like users are vexed with the troubled approach and launch. India became a 5G Nation with the announcement and launch of 5G at the IMC 2022. So, we believe the November subscriber numbers of Jio give some cues about the immediate interest garnered by subscribers.
Also Read: How Tariff Hikes Can Help Improve the Telecom Industry
Reliance Jio November 2022 Active Subscriber Base
In line with a slowdown in revenue growth, Reliance Jio also witnessed the worst dip in the Active Subscriber base, which is the highest in the last 22 months. If we look at the numbers, Jio added 1,426,817 wireless subscribers in November 2022, which is almost the same as in October 2022, with 1,414,006 wireless subscriber additions. But the Active Wireless Subscribers declined by 3 Million, which is almost equal to the number of subscribers added in October and November.
According to MOFSL, Reliance Jio's Active subscribers declined by 3 million MoM (high adds of 4.9 million in October 22022) due to a 30 bp drop in market share to 38.3%. 4G subscriber additions were flat at 1.4 million on an MoM basis compared with the 1.4 million add in October 22.
Also Read: 5G Backhaul Fiberisation to Cost Rs 3 Lakh Crore for Telcos: ICRA
5G interest Among Users
The drop in the active subscriber base and Jio encouraging users to get Jio Welcome Offer Invite looks more or less interconnected as Jio wants to increase its subscriber base and active subscriber base count. However, if we look at the November numbers, Jio's invite-based beta 5G launch or welcome offer didn't garner enough interest among users, which is what we can infer from the numbers, at least as of now.
While the flat growth in subscriber numbers and fall in Active Subscriber numbers are not surprising, this indicates SIM consolidation is happening in the Industry. With the cheapest tariff times nearing to conclude, and as there is no more headroom for fighting the competition with tariffs, we can expect tepid or flat gains in subscriber numbers in the coming days. However, telcos also need to invest around 3 lakh crore for 5G backhaul fiberisation, per an ICRA report, for users to experience full-fledged 5G Networks. So, considering the huge CAPEX involved, telcos have no option but to increase the tariffs, which will not be an encouraging factor for subscriber additions in days to come.
Jio's Active subscriber base dip may also be because of the company removing inactive subscribers or people leaving secondary SIM because of inflationary pressures caused by Global economic headwinds.
Also Read: Vodafone Idea Continues its 20 Month-Long Subscriber Losing Streak
On the other hand, there is no end to the loss of Vodafone Idea's wireless subscriber base. The ailing telco is continuing its 20-month longest subscriber losing streak, which is close to two years now.
With an Industry-wide loss in subscriber base and a fall in active subscriber base, the trend suggests that there will be stiff competition among the telcos to lure existing customers with MNP. According to TRAI data, in November 2022, 12.02 million subscribers submitted PORT requests for MNP, compared with 11.8 million in October. However, only time will tell how things will pan out for the telcos. With 5G technology ahead and Vodafone Idea getting clearance for Equity conversion, things will be interesting to watch for.