Ambani’s company, with its aggressive strategies, has brought down the average revenue per user (ARPU) of the sector from over Rs 159 to Rs 104 and this has put all the incumbents under duress. The merger of two leading players — Vodafone India and Idea Cellular into Vodafone Idea — clearly indicates that competition has had to consolidate to take on Jio. Bharti Airtel has decided to end its ‘lifetime free incoming’ plan.
This will mean losing 50-70 million customers, but the company wants to concentrate on increasing ARPUs by providing value-added services. Even as incumbents kept their market share in the metros, Jio continued to take a strong lead in B and C circles this year as it grew in rural India.