Reliance Jio continues to boost subscriber base in metros, Airtel hangs on

As Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel continue to lead in the metros, data shows that Reliance Jio has continued to make steady inroads, adding a substantial number of customers in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

In September, Jio added 200,000 subscribers in the Delhi market, 200,000 in the Kolkata market and 300,000 in Mumbai.

Airtel has maintained its base in the three metros, while Vodafone Idea lost subscribers in Delhi and Kolkata.

Jio’s additional subscriber base will result in higher revenue market share (RMS) by the telco as it already enjoys the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) in the industry at Rs 131.7. In comparison, Bharti Airtel has an ARPU of Rs 101, while Vodafone Idea has an ARPU of Rs 88.

Sources indicated that the JioPhone2, which was aimed primarily at converting 2G consumers to 4G, is doing better than the feature phone category. Under a current scheme where customers pay Rs 1,095 for the phone and six months’ data and unlimited voice package, it effectively works out to an ARPU of Rs 100 per month.

“Most of the recharges on JioPhone are Rs 149, while the Rs 399 and Rs 498 plans too are doing well,” said a source.

Reliance Jio is also banking on GigaFiber (that will be connecting 1,100 cities across the country) to get more subscribers in the metros. The broadband project is expected to be priced aggressively.

Analysts, however, feel that Jio would slowly move away from aggressive pricing and the industry ARPUs have already bottomed out. A Mumbai-based telecom analyst said, “Jio has already simplified plans. So, they would not complex it region-wise (separate plans for metros), unless they start losing market share.” He also said since the metro markets are already 120 per cent penetrated, the key for Jio now lies in targeting enterprise subscribers.

In a recent note, ICICI Securities said that Reliance Jio’s gross revenue in metros was flat sequentially in the September quarter. Reliance Jio lost market share in Delhi by 110 basis points to 28.5 per cent. Jio is thus expected not to pursue aggressive pricing strategy in metros.

Jio remains the RMS market leader in B & C circles (mostly tier-2 states and rural markets), which generate 48 per cent of the national AGR.

Airtel is the market leader in six circles (which includes one metro circle and three among Circle A), while Vodafone Idea is the market leader in five circles, and Jio is the market leader in 12 circles (none in metros and Circle A, and seven in Circle B). Metros accounted for 11.6 per cent of the industry access revenue, while Circle A share in industry revenue was 40.7 per cent and Circle B was 35 per cent and Circle C was 12.6 per cent.

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