Telecom wireless subscribers decline for second consecutive month in August
Wireless subscriber base has been declining from July onwards and rural subscriber base continues to decline for the third consecutive quarter.
The wireless subscriber base for the industry declined for the second consecutive month in August 2016. In August 2016, the wireless subscriber base declined by 0.5%, falling to 1028.88 million from 1034.23 million subscribers as of July 2016, said an ICRA report
Harsh Jagnani, Vice President Corporate Ratings, ICRA said, “On the positive side, active subscriber base for the industry increased from 919.23 million in July 2016 to 930.63 million in August 2016. Moreover, in another key positive development for the industry, the broadband subscriber base has continued to report healthy growth, increasing to 171.71 million in August 2016 from 166.96 million in July 2016."
The total telecom subscriber base has declined from 1058.85 million in July 2016 to 1053.39 million in August 2016. This is the third monthly decline in subscriber base in the last five months.
Rural wireless subscriber base in the country continues to decline for a third consecutive month, falling to 442.99 million as of August 2016 from 444.63 million as of July 2016. The urban wireless subscriber base also reported a decline, falling to 585.89 million as of August 2016 from 589.61 million as of July 2016.
However, the active wireless subscriber base grew by 11.4% million during the month. For broadband, the subscriber base continued to witness robust y-o-y growth in August 2016, which augurs well for data penetration in the country.
The wireless subscriber base however grew on a year on year basis by 4.1%. The top three telcos namely Bharti, Vodafone and Idea continued to strengthen their position, with a combined market share of 61.7% as of August 2016 as against 59.0% as of August 2015.
Bharti, which continues to be the market leader, consolidated its position further with market share at 25.0% as of August 2016, followed by Vodafone at 19.5% and Idea at 17.2%.
In terms of active subscribers too, top three telcos have witnessed a healthy increase in their market share, from 64.6% in August 2015 to 67.3% in August 2016.
Apart from top three telcos, state owned telcos BSNL/MTNL have been the other notable gainers in terms of active subscriber additions over the past year, with their combined market share increasing from 6.6% in August 2015 to 8.0% in August 2016.
The broadband subscriber base in the country reported a y-o-y growth of 46% to reach 171.71 million as of August 2016, said the report. Out of this, 154.04 million are wireless broadband subscribers which reported y-o-y growth of 52% whereas wireline broadband subscribers reported y-o-y growth of 10%.
"Given that wireless broadband subscribers constitute just 15% of the total wireless subscriber base, we expect that the wireless broadband subscribers will continue to show growth in the medium term which bodes well for higher penetration of data services in the country,” Jagnani said.