Telecom operators in India generate their revenue via postpaid mobile services. A few years ago, even prepaid ARPU was over Rs 200, but the entrance of Reliance Jio changed the entire scenario. According to the data released by Trai in its 'Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators' report for the July-September 2019 quarter, postpaid ARPU of telcos per month dipped to Rs 247 from Rs 253 in the previous quarter. On the same note, prepaid ARPU per month increased from Rs 66 in June 2019 to Rs 67 in the quarter which ended on September 30, 2019. The dip in postpaid ARPU per month could be due to the shutdown of internet services in the Jammu & Kashmir valley region. It's good to see the prepaid ARPU per month increasing as telcos will get some help financially.
Postpaid ARPU May Rise in the Coming Months
Last month, the top three telcos- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio increased prepaid tariff prices and they are not-so-impressive right now. After the tariff hike, choosing a postpaid connection will provide better benefits than the prepaid plans. For example, the Rs 499 postpaid plan from Airtel comes with unlimited voice calls, 75GB of data benefit with rollover up to 500GB, 100 SMSes per day, Amazon Prime subscription worth Rs 999 at no extra cost, Netflix subscription worth Rs 1,500, ZEE5 Premium worth Rs 999, Airtel Xstream App Premium subscription and Handset protection. As you can see, the benefits offered by a Rs 499 postpaid plan of Airtel are over Rs 2,000 per month alongside the basic data, voice and SMS services.
The postpaid ARPU per month dipped to Rs 247 in the quarter that ended on September 30, 2019. However, in the coming quarters, we may see the postpaid ARPU rising again as telcos even scrapped basic postpaid plans of Rs 299 and Rs 399.
Telecom Subscriber Base Increased in July-September Quarter
Going by the data released by Trai, the telecom subscriber base in the July-September quarter was increased by 8.29 million. Telcos added 8.29 million new users overall. As a result, the total wireless subscriber base increased from 1,165.46 million at the end of June 2019 to 1,173.75 million at the end of September 2019, registering a growth rate of 0.71% over the previous quarter, said Trai. As for internet subscribers, the number increased from 665.31 million to 687.62 million.
Talking about the consumption of users, the overall Minutes of Usage (MOU) per subscriber per month for wireless service declined by 1.49% from 701 for Quarter ended on June 30, 2019, to 691 in September quarter. The Prepaid MOU per subscriber per month declined from 705 in June 2019 to 694 in September 2019; Postpaid MOU per subscriber per month also declined from 626 to 617.
The average wireless data usage per subscriber per month during the quarter was 10.37GB and the average cost per GB was Rs 6.98. The data consumption may not be the same in the coming quarters as telcos hiked the prepaid tariff prices recently.
A recent report added that the prepaid users are choosing monthly plans under Rs 400 or Rs 300 over the long-term plans which now cost around and over Rs 600. At Rs 698/Rs 699, telcos are offering 2GB data per day for 84 days; The same plan before the tariff hike used to cost less than Rs 500. In this case, the data consumption will come down from prepaid users, and at the same time, subscribers may be inclined towards postpaid mobile services.