Telecom operators had a roller coaster ride in the entire lockdown period. Since the government announced complete lockdown, work from home became the new normal, and digital users relied on seamless data services to cater to their work and entertainment needs. Even though the demand for data services skyrocketed in India, telecom operators also lost subscribers during the lockdown period. As reported by Economic Times, the new stats released by telecom regulator revealed that telecom industry lost 2.9 million gross subscribers in the month of March against 5 million monthly subscribers addition in the previous two months to reach a subscriber base of 1.16 billion. Aliasgar Shakir from Motilal Oswal stated that the lower addition in subscriber base was caused by restrictions and lockdown period. Also, the rise in tariffs was one of the factors which resulted in lower subscriber addition.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea Lost Major Chunk of Subscribers
Telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost a major chunk of subscribers in the lockdown period. Bharti Airtel lost around 1.3 million subscribers whereas Vodafone Idea lost a whopping 6.4 million subscribers. The lost in subscriber could affect both the telcos drastically. Recently, the telecom regulator also blocked the premium plans of Airtel and Vodafone Idea that were a part of their expansion plans. Also, strict regulations and massive AGR payments have made it difficult for telecom operators. Surprisingly, the largest telecom operator of India, Reliance Jio added 4.7 million subscribers. Not only this, but the telco giant also attracted massive investments from global companies in Jio Platforms.
Telecom Operators Have Enough Space to Grow in Indian Telecom Market
Sunil Subramaniam, who is the MD of Sundaram Mittal, stated that the Indian telecom market has adequate size and space for all the three telecom operators to benefit. Also, both the telcos Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel has international backing. Apart from this, the recent investments by Google and Facebook in Jio Platforms also reveals the growth opportunities in the Indian telecom market. All these factors indicate that market is large enough for all the telecom operators to get benefits and expand their services and subscriber base.