When reliance Jio entered the telecom market, it shook the industry to its core. Most of the telecoms either gave up or merged with other businesses to secure their future. Bharti Airtel is the one telecom that has stood tall against the onslaught from Jio for four years now.
Now it seems that Airtel is shifting towards an offensive against Jio. With subscriber additions, expanding its postpaid customer base, from taking on Jio in the broadband fiber-to-the-home market, and developing its own 5G free radio access network. Airtel seems to be in the mood of not backing down.
Recently, Airtel announced its second-quarter 2020-21 (FY21) results, and to everyone’s surprise, the company declared its net subscriber addition of 13.9 million, most of which are in 4G. The numbers are almost double what Jio managed to acquire in the same quarter.
This is the first time that Airtel has surpassed Jio in terms of net additions.
With the increase in subscribers, Airtel’s average revenue per user (ARPU) is 3 percent. It is partly because of 4G subscriber additions and also due to an increase in postpaid users.
According to sources, the slowing down of Jio in net additions is because of the company reducing its 4G phone offering. Its 4G phone bundling attracted 2G customers to upgrade to its 4G network at a low cost.
Jio has recently announced its joint venture with Google to launch a low-cost smartphone powered by Android. But reports claim that the production is still three to four months far away.
This gap may very well serve as a boon for Airtel, which can leverage Jio’s lack of bundle offering and attract even more subscribers to its network.
Airtel increasing its customer base is an indication that the telecom is gearing up to take on Jio in a big way. As to what will happen in this head-to-head collision between India’s two telecom giants will only be known after Jio releases its new smartphone bundle.
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