Telecom companies saw a rise of 1.99 per cent — 22.80 million subscribers — in wireless users in the July-September period, numbers from the regulatory authority shows. Though the sector is stabilising after a series of exits and mergers, experts feel incumbents may see another round of decline sooner than later as multi-users become single users.
“One of the reasons could be the minimum recharge that the firms would levy, discouraging users to keep more than one SIM,” an analyst said. Monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) for wireless service declined 2.55 per cent, from Rs 69.15 in June quarter to Rs 67.39 in September quarter.
On yearly basis, wireless subscriptions declined at the rate of 1.66 per cent during the September quarter. Total number of internet users rose 9.32 per cent, from 512.26 million at the end of June to 560.01 million (wired 21.25 million, wireless 537.92 million) at the end of September.
The total wireless subscriber base had declined 3.12 per cent at the end of June from end of March. The sector has been witnessing declining subscriber base, with the January-March period being a slight abrasion. This period registered a net addition of 15.97 million subscribers and an overall increase of 1.37 per cent on quarterly basis. There was a decline of 1.32 per cent in the user base in October-December 2017. And, a net decline of 3.80 million subscribers during July-September 2017.