scorecardMittal vs Ambani battle heats up as Airtel beats Reliance Jio to become the top telco in the country
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Mittal vs Ambani battle heats up as Airtel beats Reliance Jio to become the top telco in the country

Mittal vs Ambani battle heats up as Airtel beats Reliance Jio to become the top telco in the country
Business2 min read
Sunil Mittal and Mukesh Ambani    BCCL
  • Bharti Airtel now has the highest number of active subscribers in the Indian telecom industry, beating Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.
  • Airtel’s net subscriber addition growth was double of Jio’s in the second half of calendar year 2020.
  • Since September 2020, Airtel’s shares have spiked by over 40% on the back of strong growth in new subscriber additions.
Bharti Airtel continued to deliver strong growth in new subscriber acquisition, adding 5.5 million new subscribers in December 2020, as compared to 3.2 million additions by Reliance Jio. This is its highest number in the last 14 months – and with this, it has become the top telco by market share in terms of active subscribers, edging out Reliance Jio by the barest of margins.

Airtel’s strong showing in the second half of calendar year 2020 has helped it maintain an upward trajectory in terms of market share. While Airtel added over 22 million shares between July to December 2020, Jio managed to add only a little over 11 million.

Airtel’s shares have jumped by over 40% since September, as the telco continued to build on its subscriber growth each month.

Airtel share price
Airtel share price since September      BSE / Business Insider India / Flourish

However, the market is yet to react to the strong showing by Airtel, as its shares were down by nearly 1.3% at the time of writing this story.

“We like Bharti’s calibrated approach in shaping up its non-telecom digital service offerings aligned with its homes and enterprise businesses, which is perhaps under-appreciated for now but may drive significant growth in the medium term,” stated a Kotak Institutional Equities report dated February 18, 2021, reiterating its bullish stance on the company.

Airtel’s net subscriber additions were almost double of Jio’s

Airtel’s strong showing in the second half saw it beat Vodafone Idea to become the second largest telecom company. Its growth in net subscriber additions was nearly double of Jio’s, while Vodafone Idea continued to haemorrhage subscribers.

Telecom market share (active users) Jan-Dec 2020
Telecom market share (active users)      TRAI / Business Insider India / Flourish

In terms of active subscriber market share, Airtel is now the top telco with a share of 33.7%, while Jio comes in second with a 33.6% share and Vodafone Idea is a distant third with a 26.3% share.

Overall, in 2020, Airtel added 11.55 million net subscribers while Jio added 39 million. Vodafone Idea lost over 48 million subscribers in the same period – a rough calculation suggests Jio absorbed over 80% of Vodafone Idea’s subscribers, while Airtel managed only around 20%.

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