Chennai, Jun 3 (Agencies): After weathering the choppy seas left in the wake of Jio’s disruptive entry, rival Bharti Airtel Ltd, which till a year ago wore the crown as India’s number one telco, has finally managed to steer into stable waters, with its customer retention and engagement strategy driving up data usage and monthly revenue.
This, in turn, raises hopes of a turnaround in a sector which has seen margins squeezed and revenues eroded by Jio’s launch of dirt cheap data tariffs in September 2016.
That disruption forced operators to either shut down or get acquired or merge businesses, leaving just two other private players in the battlefield: Airtel and the merged entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. In just the last six months, Airtel has introduced a slew of measures to take on Jio. It started with rolling out monthly minimum recharge plans starting at Rs 35 to weed out inactive users, which improved its average revenue per user (ARPU).
Tube, which is an extension of its music streaming service Wynk Music, targeted at small-town vernacular users that will allow streaming both audio and video within the same interface. It has also introduced an e-book mobile application, Airtel Books, as a subscription service for niche users. To retain its prepaid customers, who make up over 90 per cent of its total user base, it has introduced a loyalty programme where you get benefits based on the size of your tariff plan.