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Jio surpasses China mobile to become world's largest telco by data traffic

Reliance Jio, India's leading telecom operator, has become the world's largest mobile operator in terms of data traffic consumption

Jio surpasses China mobile to become worlds largest telco by data traffic

Jio submits Rs 3,000 crore EMD for spectrum auction, Airtel contributes Rs 1,050 crore

Reliance Jio, India's leading telecom operator, has become the world's largest mobile operator in terms of data traffic consumption, overtaking China Mobile, according to data released by the global analytics firm Tefficient. During the January-March quarter, the total traffic on the Jio network reached 40.9 Exabytes, surpassing China Mobile's 38 Exabytes.

Notably, Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), also holds the world’s second-largest 5G subscriber base, totaling 108 million. More than 28% of its total wireless data traffic is now consumed by 5G users, as indicated by the company in its analyst presentation on Monday.

Analysts anticipate Jio to continue gaining market share and to reach 490-500 million subscribers by FY25. With the 5G rollout completed, their focus is expected to shift to 5G monetization.

The telco’s total subscriber base expanded to 481 million in 4QFY24, with net subscriber additions of 10.9 million. Airtel has 345.6 million subscribers, while Vodafone Idea’s base is at 215 million.

“We have built in an 11%/12% tariff hike for Reliance Jio in FY25/FY26. This is a higher increase than the 8% CAGR over the last 3 years. We believe that an earlier or a higher tariff hike can be a significant driver of near-term stock performance,” Bernstein said in a note.

Jefferies noted that with 5G being offered for free, there is limited room for Jio’s ARPU to expand without tariff hikes. “We raise our ARPU estimates by 1-2% and expect ARPUs to rise at a 9% CAGR over FY24-27 to Rs235 by FY27, led by a 20% tariff hike in 2QFY25 and 10% in 2QFY27.”

In a separate note, Emkay expects Jio’s strong subscriber addition to continue, led by competitive pricing of its plans and the rollout of 5G, which may attract high ARPU customers, including postpaid customers, as Vi’s 5G rollout may still take some time. It said the availability of the JioBharat phone at an attractive price, targeting current 2G customers, will also drive subscriber addition.

Analysts said that Jio’s key focus areas for FY25 would also include accelerating the growth of the home broadband segment through JioFiber and JioAirFiber subscriber base and scaling up digital services.

Jio is India's largest wired broadband operator, with its subscriber base 43% higher than Bharti Airtel's as of February 2024.

“Jio continues to see strong traction in its FTTH business, with estimated net adds of 800,000 during the quarter." Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Jio has rolled out JioAirFiber across 5,900 towns, which is helping drive demand for home broadband.

Emkay Research said content bundling drives strong engagement for the JioAirFiber service. “Average daily data usage for AirFiber subscribers is ~13GB (monthly usage of 400GB per capita per month), which is 30% higher than that for JioFiber subscribers. It is seeing traction from Tier-2 towns,” it said in a note.

Analysts at JP Morgan said that the success of AirFiber for Jio will lead Bharti Airtel to accelerate the roll-outs of FWA.

Dwaipayan Bhattacharjee
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