A report by brokerage firm CLSA on the subscriber data released for May showed that 80% of Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio’s active subscriber additions came from smaller operators while the balance has come from Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, the country’s second and third largest telcos. Active subscribers are logged onto the network unlike those who buy SIM but do not use the network.
Vodafone and Idea saw their active subscriber base decline by 0.1 million and 0.4 million, respectively, in the first two months of the fiscal while the dip for smaller operators stood at five million in the first two months of the new financial year, the CLSA report said. This compares with smaller telcos’ average monthly decline of 4.5 million in the quarter ended March. “The decline in smaller operators’ subscriber share from 19% is likely to continue, as the unlimited voice plans offered by larger players are taking away the incentive of having a second connection only for voice,” the report said.
Jio and Airtel were the only telcos to have added active subscribers in April-May at 8.7 million and 1.5 million, respectively. Overall, Jio added 4.78 million customers in May, while Airtel gained 2.09 million, as per sector regulator Trai’s data.
CLSA said at May end, Airtel had 270 million active subscribers while Jio had 89 million. While Jio’s active subscriber base has revived with more penetrations in metros, it has hit the 4G device hurdle, it said. Jio’s move to launch 4G-enabled feature phones at highly affordable rates — some analysts such as those in HSBC expect the start price to be as low as Rs 500 — is expected to help the firm overcome this bump.
Analysts expect Jio, which has ambitions of…