Vodafone Idea’s user base shrinks; Jio, Airtel gain as telecom sector inches closer to duopoly

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Updated: Aug 27, 2020 7:41 AM

Reliance Jio has strengthened its market leadership with RMS of 38-40%, while Airtel became a stronger second operator with a 33-35% share.

The revenue market share (RMS) of Vodafone Idea declined to be in the range of 21-23% from 27% earlier.The revenue market share (RMS) of Vodafone Idea declined to be in the range of 21-23% from 27% earlier.

Vodafone Idea continues to cede market share to Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, signalling that the sector is fast moving towards a duopoly.

As per financial data shared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for the April-June 2020 period, the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Vodafone Idea declined 22% to Rs 8,567 crore compared with Rs 10,916 crore in the preceding January-March quarter. In contrast, for the same period, AGR of Reliance Jio rose 12% to Rs 15,369 crore from Rs 13,661 crore, while that of Bharti Airtel increased by 5% to Rs 12,825 crore from Rs 12,165 crore.

The revenue market share (RMS) of Vodafone Idea declined to be in the range of 21-23% from 27% earlier.

Reliance Jio has strengthened its market leadership with RMS of 38-40%, while Airtel became a stronger second operator with a 33-35% share.

As per analysts, the lockdown during the period has adversely impacted the urban markets while the rural market continued to deliver growth. As per Jefferies, the sequential fall in revenues was led by urban-focused markets with metros reporting a 20% quarter-on-quarter decline in revenues followed by A-circles, which reported a 3% decline. Rural centric B-circles and C-circles reported a 1-14% growth respectively. As a result, the share of rural centric markets rose beyond 50% for the first time ever.

Market share shifts continued towards Jio and Airtel with both operators gaining share compared with their FY20 levels. “Vodafone Idea lost a sharp 580 bps market share, taking its share to 21%, nearly half of what it was in FY17,” Jefferies noted. What is more worrisome for Vodafone Idea is that the company is losing market share in metros, including Delhi, Mumbai and A-circles.

Meanwhile, apart from RMS, Vodafone Idea continues to lose subscribers too. As per data for May, the company lost 4.72 million subscribers during the month, leading its base to decline to 309.92 million. Bharti Airtel also lost 4.75 million users in the month and its overall base declined to 317.80 million. Reliance Jio, though, continued its adding spree with 3.65 million subscribers joining its network, taking its base to 392.75 million. BSNL also added 201,537 subscribers during the month to increase its base to 119.96 million.

In terms of 4G subscribers, Reliance Jio maintains leadership position with 392.75 million users followed by Airtel with 143.55 million and Vodafone Idea with 113.05 million. The overall wireless subscriber base in the country declined to 1143.91 million in May from 1149.52 million in April.

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