Mobile subscribers’ base shrinks in March

Chennai: Shedding low-revenue generating customers by telcos to improve the average revenue per user (ARPU) led to the overall wireless subscriber base reducing by 22 million in March, a report said.

Wireless subscriber base reduced to 1,162 million in March, down by 21.9 million from the previous month while the active wireless subscriber base remained steady at 1,022 million as against 1,023 million in February.

Harsh Jagnani, the sector head and vice president at domestic rating agency ICRA, said major telcos have introduced minimum recharge plans over the last few months.

“This was done in a bid to wean off of low revenue generating subscribers and thus improve ARPU levels as well as profitability, which have been under consistent pressure over the last couple of years,” he added.

The decline in the subscriber base will not impact revenues for the industry, he added.

Among the players, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio was the only gainer when it came to subscribers, adding 9.5 million customers in the month, the agency said.

Even in terms of active subscribers, RJio was the biggest gainer, adding 8 million subscribers, followed by BSNL/MTNL which added 0.5 million, it said.

RJio’s active subscriber market share has strengthened to 25.2 per cent from 24.4 per cent in February, it said, adding Vodafone-Idea continues to lead the market with 36 per cent market share (down from 36.9 per cent in February), followed by Bharti, whose market share remained steady at 32.1 per cent.

The wireless broadband subscriber base continues to maintain its robust growth momentum, increasing to 544.9 million in March 2019 or 47 per cent of the total subscriber base, witnessing addition of 12.9 million during the month, it said.

NT Bureau