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The telecom industry’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) grew 16.4% from a year earlier to touch 54,300 crore in the September quarter, ICICI Securities said in a report.

Even though Reliance Jio added more subscriber additions during the quarter, Bharti Airtel gained 83 basis points sequentially in AGR market share to touch 36.3%, while adding more incremental subscribers.

“The benefit of premiumization has been limited while subscriber growth has returned post SIM consolidation. The Q2FY23 annualized revenue stood at 2.17 trillion and AGR was 1.9 trillion for FY22. Industry gross revenue was up 3.1% on-quarter and 21% on-year to 61,600 crore," the ICICI Securities report said.

Airtel grew faster in metros and A circles, while Reliance Jio benefitted from higher post-paid subscriber addition and better monetization of data usage. Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea’s AGR market share fell 20bps to 17.5% on underperformance in leadership circles.

Airtel’s AGR increased 4% sequentially and 17.7% year-on-year to 19,700 crore, rising 41bps on-year, with its incremental AGR on-quarter at 760 crore versus 660 crore for Reliance Jio. The circle-wise analysis shows Airtel grew significantly faster in metros at 10% on-quarter and 5.7% in A circles, even as B and C circles grew slower at 2.6% and 2% on-quarter, respectively.

UP East, UP West, Bihar and MP circles under-performed for Airtel, ICICI Securities said. It highlighted that Airtel’s gross revenue-based market share of 38% was equal to Jio’s, even when there’s a gap of 510bps between their AGR market shares in favour of Jio.

Vodafone Idea’s AGR-based market share fell to 17.5%, down 20bps on-quarter but increased 9.7% on-year to 9,500 crore.

“Growth in leadership circles was slower at 0.9% on-quarter due to dip in on-quarter revenue in UP east (down 11.2%), MP (down 3.6%) and Maharashtra (down 0.6%)," analysts at the firm said. Growth in established circles was relatively faster at 3.2% on-quarter while that in others increased by 2.9%, analysts added.

In comparison, Jio’s AGR rose 3% on-quarter or 20.1% on-year to 22,500 crore, leading to a market share of 41.4%, up 56bps on-quarter.

“AGR growth has been relatively higher in metros at 3.3% on-quarter and A circles at 4.4% on-quarter; however, they have grown significantly slower compared to Bharti in the same circles. B and C circles AGR rose at 2.3% and 2.6%, respectively," analysts said.

In circle-wise analysis, Reliance Jio lost market share in eight circles and under-performed in a few circles, namely Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and MP. It also showed significant pick-up in AGR in the Karnataka circle, which has been a stronghold of Airtel, up 10.4% on-quarter and 36.9% on-year.

Reliance Jio’s market share based on gross revenue has been close to 38% for the past five quarters, while Bharti has gained under the same parameter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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