Jio leads over Voda Idea, Airtel on revenue front in Jan-Mar quarter: TRAI

Jio’s adjusted gross revenue, or revenue from licensed services, rose 3.76% on-quarter to Rs 9,838.91 cr.

KOLKATA: Reliance Jio Infocomm consolidated its lead over the country's two older carriers on revenue in the March quarter, FY19, during which the government’s licence fee and spectrum usage charge (SUC) collections fell marginally sequentially, data collated by the telecom regulator showed.

Mukesh Ambani-led Jio’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR), or revenue from licensed services, rose 3.76% on-quarter to Rs 9,838.91 crore. By contrast, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea suffered 8.07% and 1.25% sequential falls in their AGR to Rs 5,920.22 crore and Rs 7,133.40 crore respectively.

The degree of Jio’s sequential AGR growth in the January-March period though is below the 14.63% on-quarter rise scaled in the December quarter, FY19.


Jio had become the largest telco by AGR in the September quarter of FY19, when it had raced ahead of market leader Vodafone Idea on that score. The new telecom entrant has been the only one among the three to be adding users in successive months, while Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been losing subscribers. At April end, Jio had nearly 315 million users, compared with over 393 million for Vodafone Idea and nearly 322 million for Bharti Airtel.

The telecom sector’s AGR shrank a tiny 0.34% sequentially to Rs 35,932 crore in the quarter to March. Access services contributed 72.62% of total AGR of telecom services.

Licence fee and SUC collections in the March quarter fell marginally, signalling the battle-scarred telecom sector may still not be fully out of the woods, amid high competitive intensity, elevated debt levels and continued reliance of the older carriers on capital infusion for debt servicing and capex needs.
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Licence fee mop-up by the government in the March quarter fell by 0.1% sequentially to Rs 2,888 crore, while SUC takings fell 0.9% on-quarter to Rs 1,055 crore, data put out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) showed.

The sector regulator’s report on the industry’s March quarter performance also indicated that monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) from wireless services increased 1.80% sequentially to Rs 71.39, helped by sustained growth on this key performance metric by the two older carriers Airtel and Vodafone Idea, who resorted to minimum recharge plans to weed out non-revenue generating customers.

The telecom’s industry remains weighed down by nearly Rs 8 lakh-crore of debt and though competition levels have eased in the metros, the battle-lines have lately shifted to the rural markets and small towns where the older carriers are slugging it out with Jio to grab the next 350-to-400 million potential data subscribers with limited exposure to the mobile internet.

Trai’s latest numbers though show the overall sectoral minutes consumption has grown in the March quarter, with tariffs remaining at affordable levels. The all-India average minutes of usage (MoU) per subscriber per month from wireless services has risen 3.74% sequentially to 692 in the quarter to March.
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