Reliance Jio Likely to Have 45% Subscriber Market Share by FY22: Ind-Ra

Ind-Ra has maintained a negative outlook on the Indian telecom industry and the operators will be under pressure for the remainder of FY20 due to intense competition from Reliance Jio

  • Reliance Jio currently has over 340 million subscribers under its belt
  • The Mukesh Ambani-owned telco is planning to reach 500 million user base

Reliance Jio is adding close to 10 million new users every month and it’s already the leading telecom operator in terms of subscriber base. Market research firm, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), expects that the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio will likely have 40%-45% market by FY22, owing to the company’s tariff plans which are still 25%-30% cheaper than those of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. On the flip side, Ind-Ra expects both Airtel and Vodafone Idea to have join market share of 25%-27% each. Right now, Reliance Jio has a market share of around 33% with a subscriber base of just over 340 million. Furthermore, Ind-Ra also maintained a negative outlook on the telecommunications services sector for the remainder of FY20.

Telecom Operators to Remain Under Pressure as the Competition is Still High

As noted, Ind-Ra has maintained a negative outlook on the Indian telecom industry and the operators will be under pressure for the remainder of FY20. The research firm says the telcos will face pressure due to elevated debt, intense competition and continued reliance on capital infusion for debt servicing and capex. Right now, Reliance Jio is the leader when it comes to the prepaid segment, but Vodafone Idea and Airtel, are leading the postpaid segment with attractive bundled offerings. That being said, Jio might turn things in its favour with the JioPostpaid Plus service launch that is scheduled to happen on September 5.

When it comes to prepaid plans, Reliance Jio is miles ahead of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, and according to Ind-Ra, Jio’s tariff plans are still 25%-30% lower than those of the competitors.

The gross debt of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel at the end of FY19 stood at Rs 3.9 trillion, which implies gross leverage of over 8x for the sector. “The liquidity profiles of India telcos are structurally weak as free cash flows are likely to remain negative over FY20-FY22 due to high capex intensity (Rs 1.2 trillion in FY19),” said Ind-Ra in a new press release.

This is the reason why the companies will continue to rely on refinancing or capital infusion. However, Ind-Ra believes that near-term liquidity is supported by large cash levels available post capital infusions (Voda-Idea, Bharti) and continued financial flexibility due to strong parentage (Reliance Jio).

Spectrum Auction May Dent Telcos Even More

The government of India has announced that it is planning to auction 4G and 5G spectrum in the coming months. Ind-Ra estimates that the incremental investment in 5G technology may yield a return on capital employed of only about 5% and that too at the proposed rates by Trai.

“Historically, spectrum auctions have failed to garner adequate participation from telcos as exemplified by (a) a substantial portion of spectrum offered remaining unsold and (b) lower proportion of spectrum sold above the reserve price implying the lack of willingness of telcos to pay higher spectrum prices,” added Ind-Ra.

Ind-Ra believes any incremental capex towards spectrum or 5G technology will derail the fragile recovery and be negative for ratings.

Media Content Investments Likely to Undergo a Disruption

Ind-Ra also stated that it would continue monitoring Reliance Jio’s pricing strategy and the response to Jio’s pricing by other telcos. Additionally, Ind-Ra will also monitor adequate capital infusion and asset monetisation to support funding shortfall and additional investments in spectrum and 5G technology

It’s also that the media content space in India is likely to undergo a disruption, with the availability of cheaper and abundant data options under unlimited plans leading to higher content consumption on mobile devices. Already, top telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have established major partnerships with media content providers like ZEE5, SunNXT, SonyLIV and so on to lure the subscribers.

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Nasir Iqbal

Vodafone Idea may exit from six circles. Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, North East and Assam.

Jio, Airtel
Sanjit Roy, Thakurnagar, WB


Nasir Iqbal

An article on TT is now available.


Speculation just because these circles doesn’t have 900Mhz spectrum.

Nasir Iqbal

Will Vodafone Idea buy 900 MHz for these circles in upcoming auction?


900Mhz is exhausted totally. Nothing really is remaining. They will buy mostly band 41 spectrum if they have investments.


Any valid source of news?
for VIL, Jnk, assam, NE was always last priority with negative growth and loss making after merger.
Orrisa never interested in 2g/3g/4g , so can simply exit.

Bihar is still better and lot of potential to serve.

HImachal, circle may run if more than 50% cluster are making profits.

Second option could be , sell off these circle to MVNO and simply manage network for MVNO and in roamer from other states ( including International vodafone subscriber visiting tourist destination)— this is best utilization of spectrum to cover cost of operation.

Nasir Iqbal

An article on TT is now available.


Bihar and Himachal will have decent 4G coverage through band 3 as area of these states is very low compared to other states. So there is good chance Vodafone-Idea will flourish here. Provided they match the tariffs with Jio after 4G only deployment.



Nasir Iqbal

An article on TT is now available.

Nasir Iqbal

There is no official confirmation from Vodafone Idea on the exit of the business. But the current cash crisis will force Vodafone Idea to down size its operations in several circles across India.

Now Jio is the dominant market leader in Himachal Pradesh with 49.3% share, Bihar with 55.8% share, Odisha with 53.1% share, J&K with 49.7% share, North East with 43% share and Assam with 43.8% share.


Himachal, Bihar, J and K, Assam all have more than 15Mhz of band 3. Vodafone-Idea just needs to get 10Mhz more in band 41 to give good capacity. Just like Airtel, they can get decent coverage and capacity on band 3(not much issue of not having band 3). Most probably they should go for 10Mhz extra in band 41 in these circles and it’s good to go. Band 1 will have high bidding as Airtel will get it anyhow. BSNL will get it before the auction. For small circles like Himachal and Bihar, band 3 will give decent coverage. No… Read more »

Nasir Iqbal

Bihar is not small circle bro. Jharkhand is also part of Bihar telecom circle.


Compared to Maharashtra circle,it’s very small circle.


incoming outgoing calls 2 jio numbers are blankk…


Which circle?



Suhail Ansari

Also Bsnl Rajasthan

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