The revenue earned by the government from the telecom industry continues to decline as operators battle it out in a hard-fought market, data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) showed. The steepest fall in government proceeds was witnessed in spectrum usage charges, which were down by around 17% to Rs 1,043 crore for the quarter ended September 2018, compared with Rs 1,256 crore in the same period a year ago.
Adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of the industry was down 13.26% to Rs 36,142 crore for the reported period against Rs 41,669 crore during the same period last year. As the levies are paid on AGR, the downward trend is also witnessed in government proceeds. Licence fee was down by 11.08% to Rs 2,889 crore for the reported period compared with Rs 3,249 crore last year.
Access services contributed 71.18% of the total AGR of telecom services. Monthly average revenue per user (Arpu) for access services based on AGR dropped to Rs 72.50 in the September quarter against Rs 73.34 in the June quarter.
In terms of telecom operators, Reliance Jio, Tata, MTNL and Quadrant saw their AGR rise whereas Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, BSNL and Reliance Communications witnessed a decline.
The wireless subscriber base also declined 1.16% to 1169.29 million for the reported period compared with 1183.04 million last year as the incumbent operators are trying to weed out low Arpu users. On quarterly basis though, the subscriber base rose by 1.99% as RJio has been adding around an average 10 million subscribers per month. The Mukesh Ambani-owned company amassed a subscriber base of 252.25 million by the end of September.
Vodafone Idea became the market leader in terms of subscriber base after the two companies merged. The company has a base of 435.22 million users comprising 36.53% market share followed by Airtel with 347.52 million subscribers and 32.65% market share.
Jio, the third largest with market share of 15.40%, became the only company during the quarter which added customers. The net addition of the company stood at 37 million. All other operators showed negative growth in their telephone subscriber base during the quarter.
The internet subscriber base increased to 560.01 million at the end of September quarter, of which 481.70 million were broadband subscribers. Of the total internet subscribers, 96.06% were using mobile device for access of internet services. – Financial Express