RJio becomes second largest telco by revenue, adds most subscribers in June

Reliance Jio Infocomm, a Mukesh Ambani-owned telecommunication service provider, has surpassed Vodafone India to become India’s second largest telecom operator by revenue market share, according to a report on financial data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for the second quarter of 2018.

A recent report by Crisil also highlighted that the profits of the top three incumbent telecom firms - Airtel, Idea and Vodafone - have halved in the past three years with a 1,000 bps plunge in operating margins, and a recovery is seen only from FY20 when consolidation in the industry is complete.

The corrosive effect of the competition, which began after Reliance Jio entered the fray in September 2016, will see gross revenue of the top three incumbents plunging by 14-16 per cent this financial year as they are forced to focus on retaining subscriber base, added the Crisil report.

In terms of subscribers’ base, Reliance Jio also added more subscribers to its network than any other incumbent operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone India. According to data shared by the Trai, Jio added 9.71 million subscribers in June followed by Idea Cellular, which added 6.36 million customers.

The Kumar Mangalam Birla-led Idea Cellular had lost 2.53 million users in May. In fact, barring May, Idea has been continuously adding second highest number of subscribers in the past few months. As a result of healthy additions, the difference between Idea and Vodafone in terms of subscribers has narrowed down. The two companies, which will soon start operating as one entity, have a nearly equivalent subscriber market share at the end of June. Idea Cellular has a market share of 19.24 per cent whereas that of Vodafone stands at 19.43 per cent. 

Bharti Airtel remains the top operator with 30.05 per cent market share followed by Vodafone and Idea Cellular. Jio has amassed a market share of 18.78 per cent at the end of June. As per data, Airtel added just 10,689 subscribers in June whereas the number for Vodafone stood at 275,219 subscribers.

State-run BSNL too added 244,485 subscribers in June. MTNL though lost 9,615 subscribers in the reported period. At the end of June, private telecom operators held 89.83 per cent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL had a market share of only 10.17 per cent.