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Wireless Subscriber Base Increases by 6 Mn in May 2018; Strong Growth in Wireless Broadband Subscribers Continues

The wireless subscriber base in the country has increased by 6 million during the month of May 2018, taking the aggregate base to 1,131.0 million. In another positive for the industry, the wireless broadband subscriber base too has continued on its strong growth trajectory, witnessing a M-o-M growth of 3% in May 2018.

Elaborates Harsh Jagnani, Sector Head & Vice President- Corporate Ratings, ICRA Ltd, “The growth in subscriber base in May was led by Bharti, which added 35.9 million subscribers in May 2018, largely on account of migration of Telenor’s subscribers post the completion of its merger with Bharti. On the other hand, RJio also continued to witness meaningful gains, adding 9.4 million subscribers in May 2018.”

With the completion of Telenor’s merger, Bharti’s wireless subscriber market share has increased to 30.5% as of May 2018 as against 27.4% as of April 2018. Overall, the top four telcos[1] together have subscriber base of 986.8 million, strengthening their combined market share to 87.2% as of May 2018 as against 83.9% as of Apr 2018. The total subscriber base of the remaining telcos has been declining – at 144.2 million as on May 2018 as against 181.4 million as on Apr 2018. The situation appears even stark when seen in terms of active subscribers. The top four telcos hold 915.0 million active subscribers or 93.0% market share as of May 2018. This has increased from 90.7% as on Apr 2018 and is expected to increase further going forward, marking a gradual waning away of the exiting telcos.

As per ICRA, another positive for the industry has been the fact that the wireless broadband subscriber base has maintained its strong growth trajectory, reporting M-o-M increase of 3.0% in May 2018, supported by low tariff data plans offered by the telcos. Considering that wireless broadband subscribers still constitute only around 37% of the total wireless subscribers in the country, there is considerable growth potential in this segment and ICRA expects this segment to show healthy growth going forward. – CT Bureau

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