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Active 4G subscribers continue to grow in telecom industry

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released subscriber data for May’23. Below are the key highlights:

  1. The industry-wide gross subscriber base remained flat MoM at 1,143m (vs. 1m decline in Apr’23). It has been almost flat for the last seven months. VIL lost 3m subscribers, while RJio/Bharti gained 3m/1.3m subscribers in May’23.
  2. Active subscriber base increased by 5.0m MoM to 1,043m (vs. 4.2m increase in Apr’23). For the last six months, the gross subscriber base has been flat, while the active subscriber base has been increasing by ~5m per month. Bharti/RJio added 2.4m/4.9m subscribers MoM, whereas VIL lost 1.8m subscribers.
  3. Rural subscribers: The number of rural subscribers increased by 0.6m MoM to 517m, seeing weak growth in the last few months. Bharti/RJio added 1.02m/1.41m subscribers (vs. 0.18m/1.58m in Apr’23), while VIL/BSNL lost 1.5m/0.4m (vs. 1.4m/0.4m in Apr’23). RJio continued to lead in rural markets with a 37.1% share (up 30bp MoM), followed by Bharti at 35% (up 10bp MoM) and VIL at 21.8% (down 30bp MoM).
  4. Industry added 5.3m 4G subs in May’23 (vs. 4.1m adds in Apr’23), reaching 821m (79% of active subscribers), but it has been soft for the last one year (~4.7m adds per month). Bharti/RJio added 2.1m/3.0m 4G subscribers, while VIL’s 4G subs remained flat.
  • Mobile number portability (MNP): Total requests for MNP have been consistently increasing, validated by a higher churn and SIM consolidation. The number of MNP requests in May’23 stood at 11.5m (vs. 11m in Apr’23), representing 1.1% of total active subscribers.
  • Bharti’s pace of subscriber adds picked up after a slowdown in Apr’23. It added 1.3m/2.4m gross/active subs (vs. 0.1m/0.7m adds in Apr’23), maintaining its active market share at 35.7%. 4G subs adds stood at 2.1m (vs. 2.3m in Apr’23), taking its total 4G subscriber base to 240m.
  • RJio continued to stand out, with gross/active subscriber additions of 3m/4.9m MoM (vs. 3m/4.7m in Apr’23), consistently gaining active market share by 30bp to 39.5% (highest in the industry). 4G subscriber adds stood at 3m MoM (vs. 3m in Apr’23).
  • IDEA continued to witness churn, with a 2.8m/1.8m MoM decline in gross/active subscribers to 231m/205m (vs. a decline of 3m/0.8m in Apr’23). Also, 4G subscriber base was flat MoM (vs. 1.3m decline in Apr’23) to 124m, with a 15% 4G market share. Its 4G subscriber count has been flat for the last seven months.
  • Wired broadband subscribers for the industry increased by 0.6m MoM to 34.5m. RJio/Bharti added 270k/150k subscribers MoM (vs. 320k/130k adds in Apr’23). BSNL’s net subscribers declined by 20k (vs. 30k adds in Apr’23).

For report,

CT Bureau

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