India’s top telecom companies—Jio Platforms, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and the state-run BSNL—are in the midst of a phase they have not seen in years. A series of investments flowing into the leading player Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) Jio Platforms has led to private equity firms, investment bankers and analysts closely mapping the average revenue per user (ARPU), subscriber costs and churn of these firms. It is a far cry from recent years when they battled more stringent regulatory hurdles and price wars, while competing among nearly 10 players.
Connectivity is the backbone to growth engines such as community, content, commerce, currency and capital, in order to build a digital technology matrix, says Greyhound Research, a digital and technology research and advisory firm. These are the areas that Jio and Airtel, which have the financial muscle, have covered and compete in with a vast range of products (see table).
“Reliance’s strategy has been vertical integration, by owning assets and portfolios, essentially the supply chain end-to-end,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder and chief executive of Greyhound Research. Airtel, backed by SingTel, the largest shareholder in holding company Bharti Telecom, has grown in size through partnership-led strategies.
“This is the time to put a shot in the arm; it is the make-or-break period,” says Gogia. Earlier there was no lead player but now Jio has emerged as the new incumbent, leading in both revenues and market share. “The pace of change has now risen manifold due to its presence.”
Since March, home broadband and improved Wi-Fi and bandwidth levels have become essential due to increased video conferencing, webinars and streaming of live events. Zoom, WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams have emerged as the most frequently used online communication tools in the Covid-19 world, according to Voice&Data. Jio has already started to promote WFH through Jio Connectivity and Microsoft Teams. The Jio-Microsoft alignment is “similar to how Microsoft started its engagement with Ola”, says Gogia.
P.S.: For more information on the recent investments, value that each investor brings to Jio Platforms, engagement with Microsoft, impact on Bharti Airtel, and the challenges the company can expect, read this research report by Greyhound Research.
Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Technology & Innovation Research & Advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.
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