Loss of subscribers, which was till now mostly restricted to the 2G segment, has spilled over to Vodafone Idea’s 4G user base too. In February, the company lost 1.28 million 4G users, which is the highest in this segment in nearly two years, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data. The loss also comes after a gap of seven months during which the company was able to arrest churn in the 4G segment.

The loss of users in the 4G segment can be attributed to the delay in launching 5G services.

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“VIL’s (Vodafone Idea) 4G subscriber decline in February was its highest 4G subscriber decline in over 20 months suggesting that 5G rollouts by Bharti and Jio are putting pressure on its 4G subscriber base,” Jeferries said in a note.

In February, Vodafone Idea lost over 2 million total mobile subscribers, taking its mobile subscriber base to 237.96 million. Of the total, the company has 123.74 million 4G subscribers as of February end.

The telecom operator has been losing subscribers for 23 straight months now. As of February end, Vodafone Idea has lost 45.75 million subscribers.

With regard to 4G subscribers, the company added 2.07 million users in the last seven months.

Owing to continuous loss of subscribers, Vodafone Idea’s mobile subscriber market share fell to 20.84% ​​in February from 20.99% in January.

“Vodafone Idea lost market share in 20 out of 22 circles (in February) with big losses in Gujarat and Maharashtra,” Kotak Institutional Equities said in its report.

“We expect Bharti and Jio’s market share gains to accelerate at Vodafone Idea’s expense especially among premium subscribers, driven by pan-India 5G rollouts and Vodafone Idea’s cash constraints, long-delayed fund-raise and uncertainty on 5G launch,” the brokerage firm added. .

In February, the telecom operator only gained market share in Mumbai and Odisha circles. In fact, for the last one year till February end, the company has been losing its market share in these circles, which is also evident from the continuous decline in overall subscriber base, according to analysts.

Also in January, the company lost market share in 17 out of 22 circles, according to Trai data. In Kerala, Vodafone Idea currently has the highest market share of 34.3% among all telecom operators and the same was 37% at the end of February 2022.

Also read: Jio, Airtel see slowdown in mobile subscriber addition in February: TRAI data

Apart from Kerala, Vodafone Idea counts Gujarat, Mumbai, and Delhi as its biggest markets. Barring Mumbai, it has been losing market share continuously in Delhi and Gujarat as well, among key markets.

“Not withstanding the moratoriums, VIL needs to close the fund-raise exercise quickly for a meaningful increase in capex to boost upgrade of customers to MBB (mobile broadband),” according to JM Financial.

Vodafone Idea’s total active subscribers too fell for the 11th straight month in February. The company’s active subscriber base fell from 0.79 million to 208.34 million.

In February, telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, too, witnessed a slowdown in mobile subscriber additions.

In fact, the total mobile subscriber base fell during the month, which was the highest fall in the last three months.

For Bharti Airtel, the slowdown in subscriber addition can be attributed to the adverse impact of rise in minimum recharge tariff, according to ICICI Securities. Some analysts also attributed the slowdown in subscriber additions to cleaning of inactive users by the telecom operators during the month.

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