According to a report by Bernstein, the Indian mobile service market is moving towards an effective duopoly by the end of the current fiscal year, as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are expected to cover over 83 per cent of revenue market share (RMS) jointly, at the expense of Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi). The report estimated that Jio and Airtel’s RMS will rise to 44 per cent and 39 per cent respectively by the end of FY24, from 41.7 per cent and 36.5 per cent reported in the first quarter of 2023. The report also stated that the trend will rapidly increase with the release of the Jio Bharat phone, as the two telcos plan on launching their 5G services nationwide by December 2023.

However, Vi’s RMS is expected to dip even further from 17 per cent in Q1 2023 to 16 per cent by the end of FY24, amid a delayed 5G rollout due to the lack of funding, along with a high customer turnover rate. Jio and Airtel’s combined subscriber market share is set to grow to 80 per cent by FY24 from the 70 per cent reported in April 2023, while Vi will witness a further dip to 20 per cent from 20.5 per cent in April. Jio and Airtel added 9.2 million and 5.6 million 4G users respectively while Airtel’s net increase in postpaid users was 8,33,000.

Further, analysts from Bernstein also expect the two telcos to further increase their dominance in mobile services over the next two years with Jio targeting both high and low-end users with its 5G investments and affordable feature phone launch and Airtel using its 5G rollouts to set a strong foot in the postpaid segment and rapid 2G to 4G/5G conversions. Meanwhile, Airtel is also trying to attract mobile broadband users from rural markets.