Telcos lost 20% revenue due to Jio free services

Smaller telcos may not be able to sustain cash burn by operating independently and are looking for exit options.

    The Indian telecom industry has lost around 20 percent revenue due to free services by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said in a report. While the agency also revised its outlook for financial year 18(FY) to negative from stable-to-negative.

    Telcos lost 20% revenue due to Jio free services

    The report said that a redistribution of market share among the existing telcos is underways RJio gained a quick subscriber base of 72 million by January 2017 which could cross 100 million by March 2017. RJio's ability to retain market share would be driven by both pricing as well as user experience given the choice of complete reliance on voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology.

    It says, "the industry could witness the increase in the dual-sim phenomena in the interim. Thus the data and voice usage pattern for each telco could remain inconsistent and unpredictable. "Retaining customer base will necessitate the telcos to continue to augment their capacity and coverage for superior speed and virtual network platforms."

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    Per capita data usage is likely to increase by about 35 percent - 40 percent in FY 18 to 1,250MB. A decline in data tariffs by 20%-30% will pull down average revenue per user despite higher volumes coming from the rise in data usage, the report noted.

    Ind-Ra also says that the incumbent telcos are moving towards more bundling of voice and data plans in line with RJio's voice calling bundled with data. Blended average revenue per user (ARPUs) are slated to decline by 10 percent in FY18.

    "Consolidation in the industry will help a quicker return of pricing power. The proposed merger of Vodafone Mobile Services Limited and Idea Cellular Ltd (Idea) will be positive for the telecom industry by eliminating duplication of spectrum and infrastructure capex," report added.

    However it says, smaller telcos may not be able to sustain cash burn by operating independently and are looking for exit options.

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