Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel Shares Fall After Weak Subscriber Data
Telecom stocks such as Vodafone Idea lost ground on Thursday after the industry regulator released monthly data that showed a bleak rise in the country’s mobile phone customer base.
The country’s mobile phone customer base rose 0.06 per cent, or a net 0.72 million, to 1.17 billion in October, data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed on Wednesday.
Vodafone Idea, the country’s largest telecom operator by subscribers, lost 7.4 million users, while Bharti Airtel, the No. 2 telecom firm, lost 1.9 million subscribers during the month.
Reliance Jio Infocomm added 10.5 million subscribers to its network, making it the third biggest in the country.
Jio’s entry in the market had led to widespread disruption in the domestic telecom industry, sparking a price war, stiffening competition and triggering consolidation among the bigger players.
“The top three operators have benefited from the ongoing consolidation within smaller operators in the past,” brokerage Morgan Stanley wrote in a note.
“Most smaller operators are now left with no subscribers, so it will be interesting to see market share shifts within the top players, particularly when Jio continues with an aggressive subscriber acquisition strategy compared to Airtel and Vodafone Idea, which are looking to optimize their low-end customer base,” Morgan Stanley said.
Vodafone Idea shares hit their lowest in three weeks, dropping as much as 5.2 per cent, while shares in Bharti Airtel fell 1.5 per cent.
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