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Bharti’s active sub adds normalise, RJio’s remains strong, ICICI Securities

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its data on subscribers (subs) for May’23. Industry-wide active sub base rose 5mn MoM (vs rise of 4.2mn in Apr’23 and rise of 3.6mn average in past six months) with Bharti Airtel (Bharti) adding 2.4mn subs (vs 2mn in past six months). Reliance Jio’s (RJio) active subs rose 4.9mn in May’23 (vs +2.7mn in past six months). VIL saw its active subs decline by 1.8mn. Industry-wide mobile broadband (MBB) sub net add was 5.3mn (vs +4.5mn in past six months). Bharti’s MBB subs rose 2.4mn and its market share was flattish 30.1% on active basis, while RJio’s sub rose 15bps to 51.7%. MNP remains elevated at 11.5mn with churn rate at 1.0%.

Industry-wide active sub base rose 5mn MoM in May’23

  • Industry-wide active sub base rose by 5mn to 1,043mn (up 0.5% MoM, +2.4% YoY).
  • RJio’s active sub base jumped 4.9mn (average +2.7mn in past six months) to 412mn in May’23. Total subs rose by 3mn to 436mn, and active subs as a percentage of total subs improved to 94.5%, up 50bp MoM.
  • Bharti’s active sub base rose 2.4mn (vs +2mn in past six months) to 373mn. Its total sub base increased by 1.3mn.
  • VIL’s active subs dipped 1.8mn (down by an average of 0.8mn per month in the past six months) to 205mn in May’23. Total subs reduced by 2.8mn.
  • RJio’s active sub market share rose 29bp MoM to 39.5%, Bharti’s stood at 35.7% (+6bp MoM) while VIL’s fell 27bp MoM to 19.7%

Industry-wide MBB (mobile broadband) subs rose 5.3mn

  • Industry-wide MBB subs stood at 821mn, up 5.3mn, in May’23 (up 0.5% MoM / 7.4% YoY) vs past six months’ average net add of 4.5mn MBB subs.
  • Bharti’s MBB sub base grew 2.1mn to 240mn, which will aid premiumisation, benefited by rural expansion. It will help sustain a decent ARPU growth in the absence of a tariff hike.
  • RJio’s MBB sub base rose 3mn to 436mn. Adjusted for inactive subs, its MBB market share stood at 51.7% (up 15bp MoM). Bharti’s MBB market share was 30.1% (flattish MoM) and VIL’s was 15.5% (down 14bps MoM).
  • VIL’s MBB sub base was flattish in May’23 to 124mn, which is weak.

Wired broadband sub net add dipped for RJio, stable for Bharti

  • Wired broadband sub base rose 0.58mn MoM to 34.5mn (up 1.2% MoM / 21.8% YoY) in May’23. Bharti added 0.15mn subs (vs 0.14mn per month in past six months), and RJio added 0.27mn (vs 0.26mn per month in past six months). Other operators’ sub base rose 0.18mn to 14.4mn.
  • RJio’s market share rose to 25.9% (up 35bp MoM) and that for Bharti increased to 18.6% (up 12bp MoM). BSNL’s sub base declined by 0.24mn and its market share dipped 24bps MoM to 10.5%.

Industry-wide MNP churn at 1.0%, up 4.7% on MoM basis

  • Industry-wide porting was 11.5mn (up 4.7% MoM) in May’23. MNP churn rate was 1.0% (vs 1.0% in Apr’23 and earlier: 0.7%).

For report, https://www.communicationstoday.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Telecom_Subscriber_watch_Sector_Aug23.pdf

CT Bureau

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