The intense fight between airtel and reliance jio to grab 4G market and customers in India has kept the users and the experts hooked. It has been reported that Bharti Airtel had added 5.29 million 4G customers in June overtaking Reliance Jio, which in its own right managed to add 4.5 million users.
However, it is to be also noted that on an aggregate basis, Airtel had reported to have lost 1.12 million customers in June. Its reasons might include its dwindling market share of 2G users, who left the company’s network. The fight is all set to intensify as the two telecom giants fight for the dwindling customers of Vodafone Idea.
As per data shared by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) last year , Airtel’s 4G user base stood at 148.84 million in June as compared to 143.55 million in May.
Similarly, Vodafone idea was reported to have added 3.39 million 4G customers in June even though its overall mobile subscriber base declined. In terms of the total mobile user base, Vodafone Idea lost 4.82 million subscribers compared to Airtel which lost 1.12 million.
As on June, airtel’s arch rival Reliance Jio’s mobile subscriber base stood at 397.24 million followed by 316.67 million of Airtel. But the tables have turned as it has been reported that Airtel took lead in capturing market share in October, leaving its arch rival Jio with dwindling customers.
This comes even after June saw pick up in 4G additions for incumbents. In fact, in April, when the whole country was under lockdown due to Covid-19, all operators had lost 4G users, barring Reliance Jio, which continued to add new subscribers. Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vital too had expressed his concern due to the slowdown in 4G additions for the April-June period. This clearly states that the addition to 4G network during lockdown went to reliance jio which expanded its customer base.
But it is also to be noted that the latest briefings about airtel leading jio aren’t the primary or sole cause of misery for reliance jio as airtel doesn’t lead by huge margins. ICICI states that “ airtel’s active user share at 33.3% edged ahead of Jio’s 33.2% in October, driven by highest mobile broadband customer gains, underlying the improving quality of its subscriber additions”
As per the data , the battle has continued for 12 months . It was briefed that Airtel had higher user share than jio during January- march 2020. Subsequently, it was reported that the telecoms user narrowed to the same levels of 30%. It was again noticed in May, that jio had taken the lead but it was around October and November that airtel inched forward.
The reason which contributes towards airtel’s victory over user market share could be a lower VRL ratio of join which could indicate subdued usage amongst jio users driven by near term economic uncertainties.
After having stood its ground for four years from reliance jio’s sustained onslaught, bharti airtel is now making a come back on many fronts including, subscriber additions ,defending and expanding its postpaid customer base.
In addition to this airtel can be seen making progress on the front of its own 5G open radio access network in collaboration with its partners. It is worthy of attention that Jio is looking forward to its ambitious project of jio collaborated 4G smartphones that has the potential to turn the tables. Therefore we’ll have to wait and inspect whether this minor victory of airtel will sustain in the long run or not