Industry-wide mobile number porting hit a six-month high in March 2022, with 9.64 million subscribers submitting requests to switch operators. As per the analysis done by JM Financial, the churn rate has been increasing since October 2021 (7.29 million). The industry saw a 2.35 million increase in monthly churn between October 2021 and March 2022.
According to the ICICI securities report, “Industry porting was 9.7 million in Mar’22. MNP churn rate was 0.8 per cent (vs 0.8 per cent in Feb’22).”
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s March 2022 report on telecom subscribers, in March, 9.64 million subscribers submitted requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP), increasing cumulative requests to 689.76 million at the end of March from 680.1 million at the end of February.
This comes even as operators such as Vodafone Idea were disincentivising lowest-tier users from porting out their number by not allowing outgoing messages on the lowest-costing plan. TRAI, and later Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, ruled in March that Vodafone Idea should provide outgoing SMS service on their lowest price plans as well.
Peeyush Vaish, Partner & Telecom Sector Leader at Deloitte, suggests that the reason behind increasing churn rates is due to travel and relocation opening in the post-Covid world.
Vaish said, “As Covid lockdown opens up and people move to different geographies, they are switching operators in order to get better connectivity. Especially as in the past 2-3 years, India has gone from being a dual sim market to each subscriber having a single mobile plan.”
However, another expert says the churn rate is still pretty small, even after the six month rise in mobile portability requests. According to the expert, subscriber churn is pretty stable considering a three operator market.
In March 2022, Bharti Airtel gained 2.34 million subs, Reliance Jio gained 1.55 million subs, and Vodafone Idea lost 2.80 mobile subscribers.
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