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Subs addition impacted from tariff hike, ICICI Securities

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its monthly data on subscribers (subs) for Nov’21. Industry-active sub base was flattish MoM with Bharti Airtel’s (Bharti) net add at 1.8mn. It was impacted by 2G base price increase to Rs79 (from Rs49) in July’21. Reliance Jio’s (RJio) net add decelerating to 1.1mn was a negative surprise. Industry-wide mobile broadband (MBB) subs rose slower at 2.8mn with Bharti’s addition at 1.9mn, which is much lower considering festive season and higher sale of smartphones. Bharti’s MBB sub market share rose 19bps to 29.2% on active basis, while RJio’s improved by 2bps to 50.9%. MNP was stable at 7.3mn with churn rate at 0.6%. Wired broadband sub add slightly dipped for RJio to 0.18mn and for Bharti to 0.10mn.

Industry-active sub-base was flattish.

  • Industry-active sub base remained same to 996mn (flat MoM, up 2.9% YoY), and likely impacted from tariff hike taken by Bharti / VIL on base pack in 2G.
  • RJio’s active sub base grew 1.1mn (average 3.9mn in past six month) to 360mn in Nov’21 which looks weak considering RJio tariff hike was with effect from Dec’21.
  • Bharti’s active sub base improved 1.8mn to 348mn, which has been weak for the past four months, post tariff hike in base 2G pack to Rs79 (from Rs49). Its total sub base increased 1.3mn in Nov’21.
  • VIL’s active subs dipped by 2.7mn (1.4mn in Oct’21) to 232mn in Nov’21. Total subs reduced by 1.9mn. It looks tariff hike is hurting VIL sub base; however, decline in sub base has been much lower compared to sub loss during previous tariff hike in Dec’19.
  • RJio’s active sub market share improved by 12bps to 36.1% MoM, while Bharti’s stood at 34.9% (up 18bps MoM) and VIL’s fell 27bps MoM to 23.2%. RJio continues to maintain lead in active sub market share.

Industry MBB (mobile broadband) subs rose by 2.8mn

  • Industry-wide MBB subs rose by 2.8mn to 776mn in Nov’21. Bharti added 1.9mn subs in this category. Its average net add stood at 3.1mn per month in the 12 months.
  • RJio’s MBB sub base grew by 2.0mn to 429mn. Adjusted for inactive subs, its MBB market share stood at 50.9% (up 2bps MoM), while Bharti’s was 29.2% (up 19bps MoM) and VIL’s 17.3% (down 6bps MoM).
  • VIL’s MBB sub base decreased 0.1mn to 122mn, which is disappointing.

Wired broadband sub net add slightly dipped for Bharti / RJio

  • Wired broadband sub base was down by 0.13mn MoM to 24.4mn (down 0.5% MoM / up 11.6% YoY growth) in Nov’21. Net add for Bharti was 0.10mn (vs 0.15mn in past five month).
  • RJio’s market share improved to 17.8% (up 83bps MoM), and net add slightly dipped to 0.18mn (vs 0.23mn in past five month). Bharti’s market share was 16.7% (up 50bps MoM). BSNL lost 0.52mn subs and its market share was down 203bps MoM to 17.2%.

Industry MNP churn rate stable at 0.6%

  • Industry porting was steady at 7.3mn in Nov’21. MNP churn rate was 0.6%. Churn rate has remained elevated since Feb’21 and the reduction in past two months should come as a relief to VIL.

Active subs: Industry sub base flattish MoM
Active subscribers, or visitor location register (VLR), is a temporary database of subs who have roamed in a particular area that an operator serves. Each BTS is served by exactly one VLR, hence, the unique registration. The VLR data is calculated on the basis of active subs in VLR on the date of peak VLR of a particular month for which the data is being collected. This data is collected from switches having a purge time of not more than 72 hours.

Mobile broadband subscribers: Industry added 2.8mn

CT Bureau


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