Vi loses 680,000 subscribers in March, its fewest in seven months

  • The carrier had lost 16.25 million subscribers from in the first 11 months of FY24, including more than a million every month from November 2023 to February 2024, according to data from the telecom regulator.

Gulveen Aulakh
First Published3 May 2024, 09:09 PM IST
Vodafone Idea had 219.8 million users as of March.
Vodafone Idea had 219.8 million users as of March.

Vodafone Idea trimmed its subscriber losses to 0.68 million in March, the lowest since last August and the second-lowest since March 2023, according to data from the telecom regulator.

The third-largest telco by subscribers had 219.8 million users in March. Second-placed Bharti Airtel gained 1.75 million customers in the month, taking its total to 385.7 million. Reliance Jio, the country’s largest carrier, gained 2.14 million users in March, taking its subscriber base to 469.7 million.

Vodafone Idea lost 16.25 million subscribers in the first 11 months of FY24, including more than a million subscribers every month from November 2023 to February 2024, according to data from the Teleom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Losing few subscribers is a positive indicator for the company following its 18,000 crore fundraise from a follow-on offer last month, the largest ever by an Indian firm. Halting the decline of its subscriber base is crucial for the loss-making carrier, which will begin investing in 4G networks to improve connectivity for existing users and launching 5G services to attract new customers, said analysts.

Also read: Dial Vi for revival: Its FPO was a success

“In the past 12-24 months, VIL was consistently losing 2,000-5,000 net subscribers per quarter and its competitors were gaining market share. Going ahead, assuming VIL raises intended capital, we expect its network coverage to potentially improve. This could likely lead to VIL losing none to few users and hence incremental market share gain for competitors slowing,” said sector watchers at BofA Securities in a note last month, prior to the FPO.

The Aditya Birla Group-promoted telco, in which the Indian government is the single largest shareholder, will get 2,075 crore from promoters and raise another 25,000 crore through bank loans, taking its total fundraise to 45,000 crore. Mint reported in February that the fundraise would be completed by June.

Also read: Coming up in FY25: Tariff hikes, 5G monetization and VI 2.0

Following the FPO, chief executive Akshaya Moondra said the funds – from both equity and debt – would be used for capex, comprising 4G coverage expansion at new sites for 3,800 crore, 4G capacity enhancement at existing sites for 3,300 crore, and deploying 5G sites with an investment of about 5,700 crore. The company will focus on focus on its 17 priority circles for its 4G expansion, which will involve setting up 26,000 new 4G sites on existing towers.

Analysts at BofA said in a note on Friday that Vodafone Idea was best placed to take gains from the 20-25% tariff hikes expected in the weeks after the general election results in June, and another round of hikes in following 12 months.

Also read: Vi’s chances of staying afloat brighten. More 4G+ users its best hope

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First Published:3 May 2024, 09:09 PM IST
HomeIndustryTelecomVi loses 680,000 subscribers in March, its fewest in seven months

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