Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Telecommunications: Jan-24 TRAI Subscriber Data: Bharti Active Subs Pick Up Further


NIFTY 50: 22,462

The telecom industry’s VLR base rose by 2.7mn in Jan-24 vs. the 1.9mn increase in Dec-23. This was led by the reported subscriber base increasing by 2.2mn in Jan-24. While VIL’s VLR subscribers are down by 1.7mn MoM, Bharti/Jio saw VLR subscriber rise of 3.6mn/1.1mn, respectively. In terms of overall subscribers, Jio continued to report the highest addition for the 22nd straight month (at 4.2mn MoM in Jan-24), with Bharti lagging at 0.8mn adds. VIL reported subscriber loss of 1.5mn MoM, as the loss rate picked up from 1.4mn in Dec-23. Jio seems to have gained from the launch of JioBharat phone. Jio dominated the wireless broadband subscriber addition, with increase of 4.2mn; Bharti followed, logging a 2.4mn rise MoM. VIL’s wireless broadband subscriber-count was down by 0.5mn MoM. Jio’s wireline addition rate picked up further, with the addition of 0.25mn subs (vs. 0.23mn adds in Dec-23). Even as Jio and Bharti continue with 5G rollouts, the timing of the tariff hike remains the key trigger. VIL needs a sizable fund-raise to increase capex for restricting its subscriber loss. We continue to favor Bharti and Jio, among telcos.

Player-wise analysis

Bharti Airtel: Airtel added 3.6mn active subs in Jan-24 vs. 3.0mn active subs added in Dec-23. Its active market share is now 36.3%, up by 25bps QoQ. On reported basis, Airtel added 0.8mn subs in Jan-24 vs. 1.9mn in Dec-23. Active subs addition was supported by higher VLR MoM (99.6% in Jan-24 vs. 98.9% in Dec-23). Uttar Pradesh (UP), Kerala, and West Bengal were the positive contributors to VLR, while Karnataka, Mumbai and Bihar were the major laggards.

Reliance Jio: RJio added 1.1mn active subs in Jan-24 vs. 1.2mn in Dec-23. On reported basis, RJio added 4.2mn subs vs. 4.0mn in Dec-23, possibly supported by sale of JioBharat phones. However, active subs addition was lower vs. reported, as VLR for RJio reduced to 91.7% from 92.3% in Dec-23. RJio’s peak VLR was 94.5% in Jun-23. The reducing VLR points to its actual active subs being lower vs. the reported subs number. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha were the main contributors to the VLR increase, while Tamil Nadu and Bihar were the major laggards.

Vodafone Idea: Vi lost 1.7mn active subs in Jan-24 vs. a 1.8mn loss in Dec-23. Its active market share was down MoM to 18.6% vs. 18.8%. On reported basis, its subscriber number was down 1.5mn QoQ in Jan-24 vs. loss of 1.4mn subs in Dec-23. VIL lost VLR subscribers in 17 of the 22 circles MoM in Jan-24. Mumbai was the major positive contributor to the VLR, while UP (East), Bihar, and Rajasthan were the major laggards.

Urban-Rural mix: Jio continues to lead with the addition of 1.9mn rural subscribers, followed by Bharti adding 0.9mn subscribers (0.2mn in Dec-23). This is led by Jio’s focus on converting more 2G users to 4G through its JioBharat phones. The highest urban mix was reported by Jio at 55.9%, followed by Bharti at 51.4%, and VIL at 51.3%.

Broadband subscriber base: Jio leads in both, wireless and wireline

Jio was the leader in wireless broadband subscriber additions, with 4.2mn growth MoM, while Bharti added 2.4mn broadband subscribers. VIL’s wireless broadband subscribers were down by 0.5mn MoM vs. 0.7mn MoM addition in Dec-23. Jio continued to consolidate its leadership position in the wireline broadband space, with 0.25mn additions (vs. 0.23mn additions in Dec-23). Bharti maintained its #2 position with 0.11mn additions (additions remaining flat MoM).


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