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Jio’s Growth Slows Down As Airtel, Vodafone See Some Recovery; COAI Denies Jio’s Claim on Govt Revenue Loss

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Hong Kong Based financial services provider UBS AG has released its telecom report for the month of March, and have stated that Jio’s aggressive and fast growth mode has slowed down. Their report indicates that Airtel, along with Vodafone and Idea have recovered substantially from the onslaught of Jio in the previous months.

On the other hand, COAI, the powerful lobby of telecom services provider (who have previously taken anti-Jio stand) has vehemently denied Jio’s claims that Govt. has incurred revenue loss illegal tactics employed by other telecom players.

Jio’s Momentum Has Slowed Down?

Citing TRAI’s data for the month of January, February and March, UBS AG has claimed that Jio’s aggressive growth phase has slowed down considerably. And the introduction of Prime offers, which are paid plans, is the main reason for this slowdown.

As per UBS, the months of April and May would be crucial, as Prime offers basically started from April. But going by the trends of March, it is clear that Jio would not be able to experience that level of growth, which it anticipated.

In the month of March, Jio was able to add only 5.8 million new customers, compared to 12.2 million in February.

But, if we compare to other players, then the total number of new customers added in March by Jio is more than any other player. Overall, Jio expanded its subscriber base to 9.3% of the overall telecom market, up from 8.8% in March.

While Jio’s March performance was relative sedate, because of its incredible performance in the last 6 months, Airtel and others fared well in March, because of their worst performance in the last few months.

Compared to 1.2 million new customers in February, Airtel added 3 million new users in March; Idea added 2.1 million in March compared to 1.2 million in February, while 1.8 million new customers joined Vodafone in March, compared to 0.8 million in February.

Airtel also performed good in the broadband penetration, as it increased its reach to 22.1% in March, compared to 20.9% in February.

The report said, “Airtel’s scale and ability to invest makes it a long term winner in our view..”

COAI Denies Govt. Revenue Loss As Claimed By Jio

Recently, Reliance Jio claimed that few telecom operators are exploiting a legal loophole in the matter related to paying of spectrum fees, and due to this reason, Govt. may experience revenue loss of more than Rs 400 crore.

COAI, which is a powerful lobby of telecom providers, and have been known to take anti-Jio stand in the past, has categorically denied any such loss.

In a statement, COAI said, “We have submitted our factual representation of what the industry is going through and a bare reading of that will adequately clarify that our members have categorically stated, even in their submission to DoT, that they will confirm and pay the licence fee on or before April 15, 2017, with this, there is no loss to the government also as the licence fee will be paid on actual revenue.”

Jio had claimed that leading telecom players (mainly Airtel) had “willfully, unilaterally and intentionally” paid a license fee on an estimation of revenues, which is way below than the actual fees incurred.

Earlier, Jio had claimed that Airtel’s merger with Tikona is leading to several Govt. revenue loss.

We will keep you updated as we receive more information on this matter.

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