Reliance Jio has emerged as the country’s biggest telecom service provider on the basis of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), pipping Bharti Airtel, during the April-June quarter, according to data sourced from the Trai.
Reliance Jio has emerged as the country’s biggest telecom service provider on the basis of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), pipping Bharti Airtel, during the April-June quarter, according to data sourced from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
However, this is on the basis of only the access service licences. When the national long-distance (NLD) revenue is added, Bharti Airtel continues to be the largest telco.
According to Trai data released on Friday, during the April-June quarter, Jio’s AGR for access services stood at Rs 7,125.69 crore, higher than Bharti’s Rs 6,723.54 crore.
After adding the NLD revenues, Bharti’s total AGR stood at Rs 10,192.12 crore, higher than Jio’s Rs 7,200.40 crore.
During the January-March quarter, Jio for the first time had pipped Vodafone to become the second largest telecom operator in terms of AGR (without NLD revenues). Its AGR then stood at `6,217.60 crore against Bharti’s `7,085.50 crore, and Vodafone’s Rs 5,095.80 crore.
However, then too, after adding NLD revenues, Vodafone was ahead of Jio and Vodafone’s AGR came at Rs 6,976.20 crore versus Jio’s Rs 6,309.40 crore. But in the April-June quarter Jio has raced ahead of Vodafone after taking into account the NLD revenues also.
The pecking order would change as Vodafone and Idea have merged and soon would start reporting combined AGR.
The AGR of telecom service providers is an important number because licence fee and spectrum usage charges (SUC) are paid to the government as a percentage of it. Operators pay 8% of their AGR as licence fee and around 5-6% as SUC.
In terms of mobile subscribers, Jio is still fourth, but is rapidly adding numbers.
At the end of June 2018, Bharti remained the market leader with a subscriber count of 344.56 million, followed by Vodafone at 222.73 million, Idea with 220.60 million and Jio with 215.26 million.
Jio, which entered the market in September 2016, quickly added subscribers with its free voice and data offers for the first six months followed by attractive tariff options with free voice and 4G data for as low as Rs 3-5 per GB.
The disruption caused by Jio’s entry fuelled an unprecedented consolidation in the sector with the once 12-player market being reduced to three large private players and a state-run operator.