According to recent data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telecom sector recorded around 2 per cent sequential dip in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in Q1 FY21. This was dragged down by a sharp sequential fall in Vodafone Idea’s (Vi) revenue as its critical 2G business was affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Further, the data highlighted that while Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel notched up sequential AGR gains in the June 2020 quarter, Vi’s AGR fell over 25 per cent sequentially.

The data revealed that Jio’s AGR climbed 13.64 per cent on-quarter to Rs 152.59 billion in the April-June 2020 period, while Airtel’s grew 3.61 per cent sequentially to Rs 100.88 billion. In contrast, Vi’s quarterly AGR crashed 25.44 per cent sequentially to Rs 58.65 billion. This resulted in overall telecom industry AGR dipping 1.81 per cent on-quarter to Rs 441.28 billion in the Q1 FY21.

Furthermore, lower quarterly AGR automatically led to reduced licence fee and spectrum usage charge (SUC) takings for the government. Licence fee fell 2.16 per cent sequentially to Rs 35.26 billion, while SUC collections fell 3.84 per cent on-quarter to Rs 13.69 billion. This is because telcos annually pay 8 per cent of their AGR as licence fees and 3 per cent – 5 per cent towards SUC to the government.

According to TRAI, overall sectoral minutes of consumption also witnessed a decline, with the all-India average minutes of usage (MoU) per subscriber per month from wireless services dipping 0.80 per cent sequentially to 744 in the quarter ended June 2020.

Meanwhile, access services contributed 77.79 per cent of total telecom services AGR in the Q1 FY21. The report also indicated that the monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) from wireless services fell 1.50 per cent on-quarter to Rs 90.12 in the April-June 2020, as the overall volume of mobile recharges fell during the lockdowns.