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Mukesh Ambani’s telecom punch: Jio phone subscribers may top 5 crore mark by December, says report

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In what could intensify the competition in the telecom industry even further, billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led telco is expected to garner up to 5 crore Jio phone users by December-19, according to a report. According to Motilal Oswal, out of the total 450 million to 500 million (45-50 crore) feature phone subscribers, Jiophone subscribers are estimated to jump to 50 million (5 crore) by Dec 19 implying a 10% market share.

This is indicative of the high growth opportunity, the report added. The company s focus on chasing feature phone subscriber growth has led to low ARPU plans, which we believe may continue. However, the slowing monthly smartphone subscriber adds run-rate may provide opportunity for selective ARPU accretion in 2-3 quarters once Vodafone Idea, too, stabilizes its network, Motilal Oswal said in the report. Notably, Reliance Jio remains the only telco to add active subscribers in the month of February-19.

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The active subscriber base for the industry stood flat on month at 1,023 million in Feb 19. RJio continued registering strong active subscriber growth, with 9.3m adds (gaining a healthy 90bp market share). Bharti/Vodafone Idea lost 3.2m/7.2m active subscribers, potentially on account of the implementation of the minimum APRU plans their market share contracted by 30bp/70bp MoM, noted Motilal Oswal. Taking stock of the numbers, the research firm says that Reliance Jio s strong gains can be attributed to the series of Jiophone offtake.

Bharti and Vodafone Idea are potentially witnessing the impact of the rollout of minimum recharge plans on a pan-India basis, it added. RJio accounted for the lion s share (78%) of incremental mobile broadband adds by the top three players. Bharti gained ~18% share, while Vodafone Idea accounted for a meager 4%, said the firm. In the latest quarter, Reliance Jio s growth momentum slowed relative to the last 3-4 quarters on account of slower subscriber adds (yet estimated to be the only player growing subscribers) and lower ARPUs.