Jio impacts data business of Airtel, Idea, Vodafone and RCOM

Jio 4G’s free data and voice offers have started impacting the telecom business of Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel.

Reliance Jio is running a free offer providing voice and data along with roaming services across India. The free offer will be available till 31 December. After 1 January, Jio will start charging for data plans, while voice and roaming services will be free.

The Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio is likely to achieve around 40-50 customers for its 4G services by the end of December. The company is aiming for 100 4G customers in the Indian mobile market by March 31, 2017.

Mukesh Ambani on Jio

Jio’s 4G network already covers 18,000 cities and towns, and over 2 lakh villages. By March 2017, Jio will cover 90 percent of India’s population. Jio is the only mobile network in the country that is only 4G LTE. Jio is the largest only 4G LTE network in the world. Jio has also deployed the largest 100 percent Voice over LTE (or VoLTE) network.

Reliance Communications

Thanks to the Jio offers, Reliance Communications lost significant number of data customers. RCOM last week reported data customer base of 35.1 million in Q2 against 38.9 million in Q1 fiscal 2016-17.

“The total data customer base is 35.1 million including 24.5 million 3G / 4G customers in Q2. The total data traffic at 104.8 billion MB is up over 8 percent y-o-y. The traffic has increased mainly due to increase in data usage per subscribers,” said Reliance Communications.

Vodafone India

Vodafone said its data revenue growth slowed from 22 percent in Q1 to 16 percent in Q2. This was driven by a flattening of unique data user growth quarter-on-quarter, reflecting the impact of free promotional offers from Jio.

Vodafone India’s active data customer base fell to 69.6 million in Q2 from 69.7 million in Q1. Data pricing declined 14 percent year-on-year, while data usage per customer grew 28 percent to 504MB. 3G / 4G customer base of Vodafone grew 51 percent to 36 million.

Idea Cellular

Idea Cellular said its data volume increased to 1,07,439 million MB in Q2 from 93,127 million MB in Q1.

Data customer base of Idea Cellular increased to 54.063 million from 49.050 million. Data ARPU of Idea Cellular fell to Rs 130 from Rs 142. Data usage by data subscriber increased marginally to 694 MB from 674 MB.

3G data subscribers of Idea Cellular increased to 27.63 million from 25.2 million, while 4G data user base of Idea Cellular rose to 3.07 million from 1.8 million.

Bharti Airtel

Several telecom analysts have pointed out that Bharti Airtel can withstand the competitive pressure from Jio.

Bharti Airtel has increased its data customer base to 41.3 million in Q2 from 36.6 million in Q1. But the year on year on growth rate in data subscriber base of Airtel declined to 68 percent from 62.2 percent.

Mobile data revenues of Airtel increased marginally to Rs 3,576 crore from Rs 3,525 crore. Data ARPU of Bharti Airtel fell to Rs 201 in Q2 fiscal 2017 from Rs 202 in Q1.

Mobile Data revenues contribute to 24.7 percent of mobile India revenues in Q2 fiscal 2017 against 23.7 percent in Q1 fiscal 2017 and 21.5 percent in Q1 fiscal 2016.

The year 2017 will be decisive for Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone India and Reliance Communications. Jio will have more disruptive offers to take on its established rivals and bring 4G subscribers to its network.

Baburajan K
[email protected]