What is hurting the sector, riding high on strong voice growth and robust subscriber addition, is intense competition over the past 18 months. What has aggravated this is the entry of Reliance Jio (RJio), offering free voice and data services, from September. Despite reduction in the number of operators in the recent mergers of Reliance Communications-Aircel and Airtel acquiring spectrum from Videocon, competitive intensity remains high.
Amid all this, the top three have consolidated their market shares and now account for 75% of the overall revenue pie. The September quarter number is up 200 basis points (bps) over the year-before period.
Upping the game
These numbers will change, as RJio has adopted aggressive pricing (including an extended free trial period) to grab share. Since its September launch, the company has added 50 million subscribers — that’s 500,000 a day. The number, say analysts at Motilal Oswal Securities, is a third of the wireless broadband subscriber base and about 30% of Idea and RCom-Aircel’s overall subscriber base combined.