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According to new a report by research firm India Ratings, Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio's market share increased to 20.5 percent in August 2018 and subscriber base grew 5.4 percent monthly.
"RJio's wireless market share for August 2018 increased to 20.5 percent. Meanwhile, RJio's subscriber base grew 5.4 percent month-on-month," rating agency in a statement said.
While other players such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Idea Cellular Limited's subscriber base fell 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. However, Vodafone India Limited and Idea Cellular now together hold 37.9 percent (July 2017: 33.8 percent) of the subscriber market share.
It said that RJio's aggressive marketing strategy and an aggressive tariff plan among the key incumbents have led to a decline in overall average revenue per user (ARPU) levels over the last two years.
ARPU for key players came down to 100-105 during 1QFY19 from 140-150 in 4QFY17. RJio remains an outlier, with the highest ARPU level of 135 in 1QFY19.
Furthermore, to keep a tap on the churn rate, key players are now focussing low tariff plans coupled with large data allowance at a low price, further putting downward pressure on ARPU levels. Also, telcos are focussing on providing content freebies to increase subscriber stickiness through OTT platforms.
RJio's wireless EBITDA margin remained at 32 percent for the last two quarters (with minor blip), while Bharti Airtel Limited (Bharti) wireless margins tumbled around 440bp qoq for 2QFY19.
Bharti has lost 12 percent of its annual revenue in India during the last six months, mostly to RJio. Also, Bharti's margin declined to 31 percent in 1HFY19 from 38 percent in 1HFY18, attributable to increased competition and low ARPU realization. Moreover, based on the attractive tariff and OTT partnership, RJio reported a low monthly churn of 0.66 percent compared to Bharti's elevated churn levels of (4.1 percent).