Reliance Industries is mulling over an initial public offering (IPO) to take its telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm public in the latter half of 2020 at the earliest, reports the Economic Times, citing sources familiar with the matter. Multiple meetings have taken place over the last month or so among company executives. Current regulatory guidelines state that telecom operators can only go public after three years of financial reporting, so “the IPO cannot come before March 2020” said one of the sources. The company’s first priority, however, is to get investors for two infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) — Jio Digital Fibre Pvt Ltd and Reliance Jio Infratel Pvt Ltd — that own its recently de-merged fibre and tower businesses. It has appointed three investment banks – Moelis, Citi and ICICI Securities – to reach out to potential investors for the InvITs; they may also assist with the IPO. Medianama has reached out to Reliance Jio for comment and will update this once they reply.

‘Concerns raised’ over Jio’s falling ARPU

While Reliance Industries’ digital services business reported operating revenues of Rs 13,609 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 (Q4FY19), reporting a 62% year-on-year increase and 10.6% growth over the last quarter, its ARPU (average revenue per user, a key metric) declined for the fifth straight quarter to Rs 126.2.  A source told ET that concerns had been raised about this within the company. Here are the key subscriber numbers for the quarter:

  • Subscriber base as of March 31, 2019 was 306.7 million, up 64% YoY
  • Net subscribers additions during quarter was 26.6 million, slightly lower than net additions of 27.8 million in the previous quarter, up 0.4% YoY
  • On an average Jio added over 10 million net subscribers a month in FY18-19
  • Gross additions were 33.2 million after disruption in the previous quarter due to new KYC process
  • Jio carried 71% of 4G data traffic in country during CY18
  • The company said usage metrics on JioPhone were comparable to smartphone users
  • Monthly churn of 0.75%
  • Monthly ARPU Rs 126.2 per subscriber during the quarter, down from Rs 130 per user in the previous quarter
  • JioSaavn has over 45 million songs in 15 languages
  • JioTV has over 630 channels with live and catch-up content, JioCinema has content across 11 languages including from Disney, Eros Now, and ALT Balaji

Jio metrics

  • Wireless data traffic of 956 crore GB in the quarter, up 89% YoY and up from 864 crore GB last quarter
  • Voice traffic during the quarter of 72,414 crore minutes, almost doubled YoY (95% increase), and up from 63,406 crore minutes last quarter
  • Average data consumption per user per month was 10.9 GB (10.8 GB last quarter)
  • Average voice consumption of 823 minutes per user per month (up from 794 minutes last quarter)
  • Video consumption drove most of the usage, increasing to over 500 crore hours per month (up from 460 crore hours)
  • JioPhone Monsoon Hungama offer (by Reliance Retail)with enriched app store has continued to drive first time data users to Jio network

JioGigaFiber

  • JioGigaFiber services for home broadband, entertainment, smart home solutions, wireline and enterprise is being rolled out in 1600 cities, beta trials are ongoing across the country
  • Reliance’s open offer for Hathway, GTPL Hathway and Den Networks are now complete, it now holds 72% and 78.1% in Hathway Cable and Den Networks respectively