Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has still not become the preferred network for subscribers coming from other networks in the country, even as Idea Cellular has been the biggest beneficiary of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service since 2011, Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report. Jio, which has over 160 million users in the country, had 3.8 million net port-ins at end-October 2017. Idea Cellular, on the other hand, had 25 million cumulative net gains, followed by Vodafone and Airtel with 19.4 million and 18.4 million net gains, according to the MNP data from the Trai.
The brokerage, however, said that the 4G entrant's net port-in pace had gone up from around 0.1 million per month between September 2016 and June 2017 to around 0.7 million per month between June 2017 and October 2017.
In a note, Kotak said that the trend shows that Jio has not yet become the primary number for a good proportion of its subscribers. It further added that Jio has not been able to get a large number of its customers to stop spending completely with the incumbent telcos.
Kotak added that Jio’s services were free until end-March 2017, and "customers did not really have to make a ‘which operator gets my spend’ choice."
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular's net port-ins remained in the positive zone in recent months, even as the gross port-outs pace has increased for them, Kotak said.
The brokerage further added that Bharti Airtel had been the leader in terms of MNO net adds in the market since Jio's launch in India. Airtel had cornered 9.1 million customers from other networks since September 2016, while Vodafone and Idea's net gains stood at 6 million and 5.4 million, respectively.
"Bharti’s outperformance versus Idea and Vodafone has in fact gained pace in the past few months – between end-Jun 2017 and end-Oct 2017, where the Sunil Mittal-led telco gained a net 5 million subscribers versus around 2 million each for Idea and Vodafone," Kotak said.
The brokerage said that Airtel’s relatively higher aggression in the marketplace and better LTE coverage are reflecting in these gains.
"MNP performance of Idea and Vodafone remains respectable; the two are perhaps gaining enough in their respective strong circles to mitigate the losses in the weak ones," Kotak said.
"Total cumulative ports stood at 268.2 million, a monthly porting run-rate of 3.4 million since the launch of MNP," the data showed.
In totality, other operators put together have lost 66.6 million net subscribers. Reliance Communications lost 21.5 million users, followed TTSL (15 million) and Aircel (13.1 million), Telenor(6.6 million) and BSNL (1.9 million).