Reliance Jio has dethroned Bharti Airtel to become the country’s second-largest telecom service provider by subscriber base. Since its inception back in 2016, Reliance Jio amassed 331.6 million customers and that too in less than three years, something no other telecom operator has achieved in the past. Although Jio increased its subscriber base, the ARPU of the company has gone down from Rs 126 to Rs 122 in Q1 FY20. However, Reliance Jio now stated its intentions that the company’s focus is to add more subscribers and not to increase ARPU. Also, Jio wants to stay ahead of the competitors in the tariff game as well. Right now, Jio is the leader in the prepaid tariff segment and the company wants to keep the same.
Reliance Jio ARPU Declined in Q1 FY20, But That’s Not a Concern
Speaking with Reuters after the quarterly results announcement on Friday last week, Anshuman Thakur, Head of Strategy at Jio said: “We have been telling you from the beginning, the priority for us today is customers.” The company has been adding subscribers on a large note every month. Every quarter, the telco added more than five million new users, and even last quarter, Reliance Jio added 24.5 million users, taking its overall subscriber base to 331.6 million.
Reliance Jio stayed ahead of incumbent telcos since the start in the tariff department and it will continue the same going forward. But in the process, the company is losing the ARPU, largely due to the inactive subscribers. Reliance Jio has reported a subscriber base of 331.6 million at the end of Q1 FY20, but the company never discloses the inactive user base, something which Airtel and Vodafone Idea does every quarter.
Speaking about the ARPU decline, Thakur added, “We are not in this ARPU game,” and the company’s focus is to give ‘long-term value’ to the users.
Reliance Jio to Stay Ahead of Other Telcos in the Tariff Game
Reliance Jio made every other telco in the industry suffer from its cutthroat tariff plans. The telco is still the tariff leader in the prepaid segment, albeit it’s somewhat below the private telcos in the postpaid department. Reliance Jio’s Rs 149 prepaid plan is still unbeatable in the country as incumbents are still unable to match the plan. Airtel and Vodafone Idea are providing Rs 169 prepaid plan with 1GB daily data, while Jio is providing 1.5GB data per day even with the Rs 149 plan itself.
It will be interesting to see how future turns out for Reliance Jio, but for now, the telco is focussing on adding more subscribers and aiming to become the leading telecom operator by subscriber base. On the flip side, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are aiming to retain revenue-generating customers, which proved to be worthy as both the telcos saw an increase in ARPU.