As per a telecom report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Bharti Airtel has regained top spot in active subscriber market as it added 3.7 million active subscribers in June 2020 to reach 311 million. Consequently, Airtel has regained the top spot (after losing it to Reliance Jio in May’20) in active SMS with 32.4 per cent share (+40bp MoM).

However, despite adding healthy active subscribers, Airtel has not reached its pre COVID-19 levels of 315 million.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) subscriber data for June 2020 indicates that active subscriber base of telcos has declined again after the limited recovery witnessed in May 2020. It remains to be seen whether the number of subscribers would return to the previous level with the opening up of the economy or it would permanently decline by 3 per cent from the pre COVID-19 level.

Furthermore, the industry witnessed 2.8 million active subscriber churn in June 2020 to reach 958 million after gaining 2.9 million subscribers in May 2020. Thus, the benefit of limited recovery that happened in May 2020 has eroded. This was led by 3.7 million and 2.1 million decline in Vodafone Idea’s and Jio’s subscribers, respectively, which was partially offset by 3.7 million gain by Airtel.

Industry mobile broadband subscriber addition stood at a healthy 14 million in June 2020 to reach 678 million (after witnessing steep decline of 11.2 million in April 2020 and recovery of 7.3 million in May 2020). mobile broadband subscribers now account for 70.8 per cent of total active subscribers in the market, rising continuously from 59 per cent in June 2019.

The subscriber additions have been led by all players – Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Jio adding 5.3 million, 3.4 million and 4.5 million subscribers, respectively.

Airtel’s mobile broadband subscribers stood at 149 million in June 2020. Its SMS rose 22 per cent month on month (MoM) to 40bp. Jio clocked 4.5 million mobile broadband subscribers, taking its total subscriber base to 397 million. Despite adding healthy subscribers in June 2020, its market share shrunk by 60bp (after declining 10bp in May’20) to reach 58.6 per cent. After adding 1.7 million mobile broadband subscribers in May 2020, Vodafone Idea added 3.4 million in June 2020, taking its total subscriber base to 116 million. Its market share inched up by 20bp to reach 17.2 per cent. This is the first time Vodafone Idea’s market share has improved since Sep’18.