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Airtel tops Q2 customer additions, beat Jio first time in 12 months

Base up by 13.9 mn to 293 mn sequentially; firm may have gained from erosion in Vodafone's subscriber numbers as it saw good growth in both 4G additions and post paid users

Airtel | Reliance Jio | telecom sector

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

Bharti Airtel second most valuable mobile operator in emerging Asia
Airtel's customer base increased by 13.9 million to 293 million on sequential basis in second quarter FY 2021

beat in net customer additions for the first time in twelve months in September end quarter on the back of network improvements and lower customer churn.

Airtel's customer base increased by 13.9 million to 293 million on sequential basis in second quarter FY 2021. The telecom company also seems to have benefitted due to erosion in Vodafone's subscriber base as it saw good growth in both its 4G additions and post paid subscribers. At the end of second quarter Vodafone's customer base declined by 8 million to 271.8 million. Jio's customer base rose by 7.3 million to 405.6 million.

"Our customer net addition was at 13.9 million and our churn was at an all time low of 1.7 per cent," Bharti Airtel's chief executive officer Gopal Vittal said in a post result conference call.

Vittal cited the growth to company strategy to attract quality customers and its focus on improvements which included addition of new cell sites, densification of network and digital solutions.

Jio,'s customer churn rose from 0.46 per cent to 1.69 per cent on a sequential basis leading to slower growth in net subscribers.

"Monthly churn rate for wireless subscribers increased to 1.69 per cent with follow through impact of Covid on SIM consolidation and recharge cycle of migrant population," Jio said in its Q2 results release. The company though crossed 400 million subscriber milestone making it the first operator outside of China to achieve the feat in a single country.

Sources said unlike its competitors Jio provides free incoming facility to those who miss recharge. Those who did not recharge in April-May got disconnected and this impacted the September quarter customer data.

The company however remains optimistic of growth. "The connectivity business continues to do very well, despite certain challenges on the ground. While existing customers could be serviced, onboarding new customers has been a bit difficult because of lockdown or restrictions. But as those ease out hopefully we'll see some more addition there," said Jio's strategy head Anshuman Thakur in post result call.

Vodafone Idea's churn rate increased from 2 to 2.6 per cent on a quarterly basis and the company management hopes that's its service quality improvements and marketing strategy will help it to retain customers and attract ones. Gross subscriber additions are improving on month on month basis, the company management told analysts in a post result call.

A telecom analyst said Jio's incremental market share grab seems clearly lower than this quarter. " The next fight among the telecom will be in post paid segment with the launch of Jio's plans and the company will target both corporate and non corporate customers of and Vodafone," he said.

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First Published: Sun, November 01 2020. 18:58 IST