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Mobile Subscribers Yearwise comparision

Consolidation on spectrum, subscribers and assets continues, says Ind-Ra

February 07, 2018

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), in its latest report has highlighted the trends in the Indian telecom sector with a focus on subscriber additions, subscriber market share, circle wise additions, broadband subscribers, data usage and pricing.

Some of the key highlights of the report include growth in the wireless broadband (3G/4G) subscriber base at an average 66 per cent year-on-year over the 12 months ended November 2017 which saw 132 million new broadband subscriber additions during the period. However, narrowband subscribers have been continuously declining on a quarter-on-quarter basis and successively converting into broadband subscribers. The report stated that the growth in broadband subscribers has been accelerated after Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited's (RJIL) entry, suggesting phasing out of 2G progressively in the medium term.

Moreover, subscriber growth declined by 1.3 per cent month-on-month in November 2017, reflecting a loss in Reliance Communications Limited's subscriber base, post announcement of the shutdown of its voice operations. Overall, the industry lost 15.7 million wireless subscribers in November 2017, continuing the decline in subscriber base trend visible since July 2017.

Additionally, the GSM average revenue per user (ARPU) that includes long term evolution (LTE) increased by 5 per cent quarter-on quarter basis to Rs 84 in the quarter ending September 2017, but was 30.6 per cent lower on year-on-year basis. The recent price cut by RJIL indicates that the pricing discipline may still be uncertain and highly dependent on consumer behaviour despite industry consolidation. Further, Ind-Ra expects short-term ARPU outlook to remain weak.

According to Ind-Ra, major operators would focus more on increasing their subscriber market share than revenue market share during 2018 and the dual-SIM phenomenon would continue for longer-than-expected, given low customer loyalty and high price sensitivity.



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