Vodafone Idea, which is promoting its SuperNet 4G services, is facing significant challenges in the Indian mobile Internet market.
Vodafone Idea, despite making Capex related investment in 4G network, has lost millions of mobile Internet subscribers – on 2G, 3G and 4G networks — in recent months, according to data from TRAI shows.
Vodafone Idea’s mobile Internet customer base fell to 108.99 million in May 2019 as against 109.64 million in April, 110.20 million in March, 110.23 million in February, 109.84 million in January and 107.9 million in December 2018.
Balesh Sharma, CEO of Vodafone Idea, in May said: “We focus on fortifying our position in key profitable districts by expanding coverage and capacity of our 4G network, targeting higher share of new 4G customers by offering an enhanced network experience.”
Bharti Airtel’s mobile Internet customer base reached 115.95 million in May 2019 as against 113.33 million in April, 112.26 million in March, 109.8 million in February, 107.96 million in January and 97.99 million in December 2018. Bharti Airtel has 2G, 3G and 4G networks across India.
Reliance Jio’s mobile Internet subscriber base – on its 4G network — increased to 322.99 million in May 2019 as against 314.81 million in April, 306.72 million in March, 297.23 million in February, 289.44 million in January and 280.12 million in December 2018.
Vodafone Idea network update
Vodafone Idea, the largest telecom operator in India, has completed network integration in the ten states including West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, North East, J&K, Bihar and Punjab.
Vodafone Idea has already achieved 34 percent quarter on quarter increase in the capacity in these circles, leading to improved Net Promoter Score and higher download speeds — post integration.
Vodafone Idea’s network team – headed by CTO Vishant Vora — is managing the network integration on a cluster-by-cluster basis. The telecom operator earlier said mobile phone subscribers of both Vodafone and Idea brands are gradually moving to the network with greater coverage and capacity.
Vodafone Idea has also enhanced capabilities of some of the 900 MHz sites to provide 4G service through dynamic spectrum refarming in Kerala and Delhi.
Vodafone Idea, as a result of network integration, has removed surplus equipment on 24,000 sites out of the total 67,000 co-located sites. Vodafone Idea also exited ~9,900 low utilization sites – yielding significant cost savings for the company.
Vodafone Idea has also added 8,915 4G TDD sites during the March quarter of 2019 as part of the strategy to enhance capacity, and deployed massive MIMO, a pre-5G technology, on around 2,000 sites in select key locations.
Vodafone Idea said there was a drop in broadband locations and broadband sites because the process of redeployment is underway. Vodafone Idea is expecting the population coverage would improve significantly after the completion of the redeployment exercise.
Vodafone Idea’s 4G population coverage reached 65 percent as of March 31, 2019, compared to less than 50 percent for each of the brands in August 2018.
Vodafone Idea added 5.4 million 4G customers, taking the total 4G subscriber base to 80.7 million till March 2019.