4G will be the largest revenue contributor to operators from mobile consumer services. As carriers work their way towards deploying 5G networks, their focus will not hinder 4G at all. It will take more than half a decade to make 5G (in terms of consumer mobile services) an important game for telecom operators to earn significant revenue. However, Vodafone Idea (Vi), which has been recognized by Opensignal for delivering the best download and upload speeds in India with its 4G network, needs more work on 4G. That’s because just better download and upload speeds do not form the basis of a good user experience. There are other things like 4G availability and coverage, along with the network performing well in different sectors like online gaming and video streaming. These are the areas where Vi is not ahead of Jio and Airtel.
Talk only in terms of 4G, Jio and Airtel are ahead of Vi in the business. Capital spending on Jio and Airtel is more than where Vi is, and Vi still has many old network users. Vi needs more 4G users in its subscriber pool ASAP. Not only will this help achieve the company’s average revenue per user (ARPU) targets, but it will also give something positive for investors to consider.
BSNL comes with 4G; VI must be alert
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) plans to officially roll out local 4G networks soon. It will be interesting to see how BSNL’s 4G performs. But in terms of optics, this will be a tough time for Vi investors who will be looking closely at what consumers in India are choosing. To be fair, there will be no competition between BSNL’s 4G network and Vi.
Vodafone Idea outperforms BSNL in the 4G game, but when all odds are assumed, there is one where BSNL grabs 4G market share for private carriers, mostly Vi. This is because users will now have the option to either switch to Airtel, which offers services with the same tariffs but is a more premium network, or go to BSNL, which offers lower tariffs and can be a good option to get a secondary SIM card.
Well, whatever it is, Vi should focus on increasing market share for 4G subscribers. telco has got some great prepaid package offers for its customers, but it doesn’t have as many 4G subscribers as you would like. In the first quarter of fiscal year 23, Vi added only 0.9 million new 4G customers. It’s a very slow rate, and the carrier needs to find something to support growth.