Airtel’s active mobile Internet connection base increased but revenues declined consecutively, in Q4-FY17, as the company reeled under the impact of Reliance Jio’s “Welcome offer”, or as Airtel called it, a “Slowdown in Mobile revenue growth primarily due to free voice and data offering by a new operator”. Mobile Internet revenues declined 11% to Rs 2743.7 crore from Rs 3092.7 crore the previous quarter, and 18% year on year.
Airtel’s connection base grew by 7.8 million connections, while its Mobile Internet connection base raised only around 2.45 million (4%) quarter on quarter to 57.36 million from 54.92 million, bringing it on part with the state a year ago (December 2015). Now only about 21% of Airtel’s connection base uses the Internet. At September 2016 end, this was 24.1%.
Airtel’s broadband (3G+4G) connection base increased by 5 million, its 2G connection base declined by 2.6 million, the number of connections not using the Internet increased by 5.3 million.
Broadband is now around 16% of total Airtel Mobile connections, and 74% of total Mobile Internet connections. In the previous quarter, Broadband connections were 14% of total connections, and 69% of Mobile Internet connections. 2G Mobile Internet connections account for 5.4% of total Internet connections; it was 6.5% at the end of the last quarter. 2G now accounts for 26% of total Mobile Internet connections for Airtel, down from around 31% last quarter.
Data volume grew for Airtel during the quarter, along with the also increase in connections. Airtel users consumed 225.1 billion MBs of data during the quarter, up 31% quarter on quarter from 171.8 billion MBs last quarter. That’s a growth of 53.3 billion MBs (by around 24%), in a market where data consumption has been growing rapidly: this can only mean one thing: usage shifted elsewhere, and that is probably Jio.