The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released the subscriber data for Aug’23. The key highlights are as follows:

VIL’s churn led to a decline in active subscribers:

-The industry-wide gross subscriber base rose 2.2m MoM to 1,148m (vs. +2.7m in Jul’23). It increased for the second consecutive month after remaining flat during the last nine months. The number of VIL subscribers remained flat MoM, while RJio/Bharti added 3.2m/1.2m subscribers, resulting in a rise in the gross subscriber base.

-The active subscribers in the industry decreased 3.0m MoM to 1,043m (vs. +3.6m in Jul’23). The active subscriber base has been increasing by an average of 4m per month over the last eight months. The decline was led by VIL/Bharti’s churn of 3m/0.4m subscribers while RJio added 1.2m subs.

Rural subscribers: The number of rural subscribers grew 1.3m MoM (vs. +0.2m in Jul’23) to 519m. RJio/Bharti added 1.6m/0.7m subs (vs. +2m/-0.5m in Jul’23), while VIL/BSNL lost 0.3m/0.6m subs (vs. -0.7m/-0.6m in Jul’23). RJio continued to lead in rural markets with a 37.8% share (+20bp MoM), followed by Bharti at 35.0% (+10bp MoM) and VIL at 21.4% (-10bp MoM).

4G subscriber additions accelerate: The industry added 7.6m 4G subs (vs. 6.1m additions in Jul’23), to reach 839m (80% of active subscribers) after subdued additions of 4.6m per month on an average for the last one year. RJio/ Bharti added 3.2m/2.6m subs in Aug’23. VIL added 1.3m 4G subs in Aug’23 (vs. -0.6m in Jul’23).

Mobile number portability (MNP): Total requests for MNP have been consistently increasing, validated by a higher churn and SIM consolidation. The number of MNP requests in Aug’23 stood at 12.7m (vs. 11.8 in Jul’23), representing 1.2% of the total active subscribers.

Bharti continued to add 1.2m gross subscribers (vs. +1.5m in Jul’23). It lost 0.4m active subscribers in Aug’23 (+3.2m in Jul’23); however, its active market share increased 10bp to 36% due to higher VIL churn. The company’s 4G subscriber additions stood at 2.6m (vs. +2.9m in Jul’23), taking its total 4G subscriber base to 247m.

RJio continued to stand out with gross/active subscriber additions of 3.2m/1.2m MoM (vs. +3.9m/1.4m in Jul’23). This increased its active market share to 40% (+30bp MoM, the highest in the industry). Its 4G subscriber additions stood at 3.2m MoM (vs. +3.9m in Jul’23).

VIL continued to witness churn with a flat/2.9m MoM decline in gross/active subscribers to 228m/199m (vs. a decline of 1.3m/0.4m in Jul’23). Its 4G subscriber base increased 1.3m MoM (vs. -0.6m in Jul’23) to 126m. It maintained its 4G market share to 15% in Aug’23 (+10bp MoM). Its 4G subscriber count has been flat for the last five months

Wired broadband subscribers for the industry increased 0.7m MoM to 36.4m in Aug’23. RJio/Bharti added 190k/160k subscribers MoM (vs. 230k/ 170k adds in Jul’23). BSNL’s net subscribers rose 30k (vs. +20k in Jul’23).

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