Telecom operators are likely to soon announce another set of tariff hikes as they look to improve their average revenue per user (Arpu) by weeding out low-paying, inactive subscribers, Financial Express reported.
The earlier apprehension regarding hiking tariffs seems to have gone as, despite the hikes undertaken in December 2021, the active subscriber base of the industry has risen in the last few months. What the operators have lost are low-end customers, who were mostly inactive, meaning having more than one or two connections.
By weeding out inactive customers from the network, Reliance Jio, for instance, has increased the percentage of its active subscribers, which at February-end reached an all-time high of 94%.
Telecom sector analysts said that with Bharti Airtel focusing on increasing its ARPU further and Jio leading the improvement of the profile of subscribers on its network, the outlook would remain strong even after another round of tariff hikes.
Bharti Airtel expects to reach an ARPU of 200 this year. The company had reported an Arpu of ₹163 at the end of December. Similarly, Vodafone Idea has been vocal about increasing the Arpu for the telecom industry, though the company has not shared any specific number.
Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) shows that Bharati Airtel added 1.59 million users in February to close the month at 358.07 million subscribers. Reliance Jio added over 10 million active users in the same month, despite losing 3.66 million gross subscribers, and ended the month at 402.73 million subscribers, while Vodafone Idea lost another 1.53 million users in February, taking its subscribers to 263.59 million.
Meanwhile, India's total wireless subscribers decreased from 1,145.24 million at the end of January to 1,141.53 million at the end of February, representing a month-on-month decline of 0.32%,
According to Trai data, Jio had the greatest share of the market with 35.28 percent, Airtel was second (31.37 percent), and Vodafone Idea was third (23.09 percent) at the end of February. BSNL and MTNL respectively have 9.98 percent and 0.28 percent of the market.