Bharti Airtel: Jio and Airtel will gain market share on Vi over time: analysts

Jio and Bharti Airtel, which bought large amounts of 5G waves in the just-concluded auction, are expected to make solid gains in revenue and subscriber market share over time at the expense of Vodafone Idea. cash-strapped after launching 5G services later this year, analysts say.

They said, however, that market share gains for Jio and Airtel will be incremental as the 5G device ecosystem and use cases continue to evolve. But they expect Vi to face accelerated customer turnover by October 2023 – about a year after commercial 5G rollout in India – if the loss-making company fails to quickly close its fundraising campaign. Rs 20,000 crore pending and to bolster its 5G game in its priority markets.

Telecom market leader Jio is the sole buyer of the super-efficient pan-India 700 MHz spectrum, as well as significant chunks of mid-band (3.3-3.67 GHz) and mid-band radio waves. high (26 GHz) that will allow it to launch a powerful nationwide 5G operation. Second rank

which missed out on the expensive 700MHz band, also loaded mid- and high-band 5G spectrum in all circles, coupled with strategic top-ups in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands to fill the gaps and effectively compete with an even stronger Jio on the ground.

By contrast, Vi has purchased modest chunks of radio waves, mostly in the mid- and high-bands to offer 5G services in its priority markets with legacy spectrum top-ups, which could rob it of any competitive advantage over its peers. two financially stronger rivals on the 5G stage, analysts say.

But “Jio and Airtel will not gain market share from Vi overnight once they roll out 5G services, as the mass use cases and ecosystem of 5G devices are still evolving, so gains will be progressive initially,” Nitin Soni, senior director of global ratings agency, Fitch, told ET.

He said, however, that Vi could face accelerated customer turnover about a year after Jio and Airtel’s 5G launches, particularly if the loss-making phone company fails to quickly close its long pending fundraiser. and reorganize its mobile broadband operations.

In a statement, Jio said its 700 MHz spectrum footprint made it the only operator to provide true 5G services across India. “Jio 5G will ensure that every Indian has access to the most transformative digital services and platforms offered anywhere in the world,” the telecom market leader said in a statement on Monday.

Bharti

, in its statement, said it was confident that its higher quality customers would adopt 5G devices at a rapid pace. “Airtel’s strong presence in the enterprise segment will (also) enable a host of industrial use cases further strengthening Airtel’s leadership in the B2B market.”

“Bharti and Reliance (Jio) strengthening their spectral footprint will further contribute to their market share relative to Vi,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Japan’s Nomura also expects Vi’s 5G rollouts to be limited to select cities in the near term, given the telecom operator’s much-delayed fundraising, existing gaps in 4G coverage and constraints. of investment.

Vi, however, played down concerns, saying the telco would continue to work with enterprise customers and partners to prioritize and develop 5G use cases for real-world deployments. “We have the advantage of leveraging the global experience of the Vodafone Group, which has proven successful in rolling out 5G in many markets, and we will continue to invest in our future-ready network to bring it to life. upgrade for the deployment of 5G services to our customers in the future,” the company said in a statement.

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