Highlights of the Data for Dec’20 Released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

  • The industry saw strong active subscriber growth. RJio and Bharti steadily added subscribers, even as the pace of loss continued for VIL. The subscriber base for the industry as a whole is now just 1.4% lower than pre-COVID levels at 989.1m in Mar’20.
  • Gross subscribers decreased by 1.4m MoM (after adding 14.5m over Jul-Nov’20) to 1.15b in Dec’20, led by a steep fall in VIL, but partially offset by Bharti/RJio. Active subscribers increased by 7m in Dec’20 to 975m.
  • Bharti added 4.1m/5.5m gross/active subscribers at 339m/329m in Dec’20. With this, the company regained its top spot in terms of active subscriber market share (SMS) at 33.7%. The quality of Bharti’s subscribers is reflected in its strong 4G subscriber additions of 4.4m (v/s RJio’s additions of 0.5m), taking up 94% incremental SMS.
  • RJio’s monthly gross/4G subscriber additions has slowed to 0.5m in Dec’20 at 409m (v/s 1.9m in Nov’20 and an average of 7m in FY20). Active subscriber additions were better at 3.2m (but slower than 5.4m in Nov’20) in Dec’20. Total subscribers now stands at 328m as of Dec’20. RJio maintained its top spot in gross SMS at 35.4%.
  • The pace of gross/active subscriber loss for VIL continues at 5.7m/1.5m in Dec’20 to 284m/257m (after a loss of 2.9m/1.9m in Nov’20). This is a key red flag as the 3QFY21 result positively hinted at slower deceleration.
  • Industry 4G subscribers additions slowed to 4.9m at 724m (after adding 63m over MayNov’20), with MBB subscribers now accounting for 74.3% (flat MoM) of active subscribers.
  • Bharti continued with its healthy outperformance streak of the past seven months, with 4.4m MBB additions in Dec’20 (94% incremental share) at 176m. RJio added a mere 0.5m to 409m (v/s ~7m in FY20). VIL lost 0.2m subscribers at 121m, after adding 0.6m/0.5m in Oct/Nov’20. Bharti’s 4G market share increased 40bp MoM to 24.3%, while VIL/RJio’s share dropped 10bp/30bp MoM to 16.7%/56.4%.
  • Industry wired broadband subscriber additions stood at 0.4m at 22.29m. To this, RJio added 0.2m (50% incremental share), while Bharti added 80k subscribers.