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According to the new report by research firm India Ratings, active subscriber base is falling for most telcos except Bharti Airtel Limited which has gained 23 million VLR subscribers over the past year. Idea Cellular Limited also gained 11.9 million VLR subscribers and Vodafone gained 5.1 million VLR subscribers over past one year, but they have started reporting subscriber loss in the past three months.
The firm said Reliance Jio continues to gain subscribers steadily (4-5 million per month) despite obvious saturation.
However, RJio's active subscriber base was relatively low at 100 million due to its lower active subscribers (measured by peak visitor location register (VLR)) - at 75 percent in August 2017.
Ind-Ra said that Jio's market share gain is largely explained by the dual-SIM phenomenon and rapid loss of market position by the smaller telcos.
RJio's market share gain is largely explained by the dual-SIM phenomenon and rapid loss of market position by the smaller telcos. RJio which gained quickly after its launch based on free pricing is now trying to retain the same through discounted tariffs and cash back offers.
RJio's biggest impact has been on data consumption pattern as all its wireless subscribers are by default broadband data subscribers. This has increased not only the absolute number of data subscribers but also its discounted tariffs have increased the data consumption multi-fold.
Telecom revenues plunged by 2 percent to Rs 1.9 trillion in FY17 reflecting free pricing by RJio during 2HFY17 and rest of the industry's response to the same. The industry revenues could revive over 12-18 months period led by RJio increasing its tariffs, exit of smaller telcos and expansion of the data revenue base, leading to the probability of relatively stable pricing environment with lower competitors per circle. Going forward as tariffs move up, the multiple SIM usages will reduce and Average Revenue Per User per SIM will move up, the report added.
Reliance Communications Limited has announced the discontinuation of voice telephony services from December 1, 2017, and to continue providing only 4G data services.