Indian Economy News

In the last 2 years, telecom companies have added the highest number of 4G subscribers: TRAI

According to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), 4G customer additions for telecom carriers Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea reached a two-year high of 7.1 million in August. According to the analysts, the increase in the 4G subscriber base may be linked to the increase in migration from 2G to 4G, the adoption of JioBharat, and telecom companies' focus on premiumisation.

In August, Reliance Jio added the most 4G subscribers for the sixth consecutive month, with 3.2 million users. Airtel and Vodafone Idea increased their subscriber bases by 2.6 million and 1.3 million, respectively. According to TRAI data, Jio's subscriber base, which only has 4G customers, was 445.7 million at the end of August, while Airtel and Vodafone Idea had 247 million and 125.5 million, respectively.

According to Jefferies Group, “Notably, the 3G/4G subscriber additions during the first two months of the second quarter in 2023-24 (July-September) alone were more than the 3G/4G subscriber additions over each of the previous two quarters – indicating a strong momentum on this front”.

Even though Vodafone Idea attracted 1.3 million 4G users in August, analysts claimed the market share continues to shift towards Airtel and Jio, indicating that Vodafone Idea is under continued pressure to roll out 5G services. Vodafone Idea added 1.7 million 4G users in 2023 until August, compared to 18.2 million and 21.2 million by Airtel and Jio, respectively.

CEO of Vodafone Idea, Mr. Akshaya Moondra said, “An addition of 1.8 million 4G subscribers during July-September is the highest in the last eight quarters. We continue to focus on getting more customers on 4G/unlimited plans for further Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) improvements”.

Total wireless broadband or 3G/4G customers rose to 839.13 million at the end of August, up from 831.54 million in July. According to data, Jio has the greatest market share of 53%, followed by Airtel at 29.4% and Vodafone Idea at 14.9%.

ICICI Securities said, “Bharti’s mobile broadband (4G) subscriber base (growth) will aid premiumisation, benefitted by rural expansion. It will help sustain the decent Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) growth in the absence of a tariff hike”.

As of the end of August, 1.043 billion, or 91% of total wireless customers, were active. Reliance Jio was the sole operator to increase active subscribers in August, with 1.2 million, while Airtel lost 0.4 million users and Vodafone Idea lost 2.9 million.

The active user base of Airtel was 375.5 million, whereas Jio's was 417.1 million. The total active customer base of Vodafone Idea was 199.38 million, while BSNL had 50.5 million.

According to Jefferies, the drop in active subscribers in August appears to be a one-time occurrence, as it is only the second such occurrence in the last nine months.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.