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This article is more than 1 year old.

Lockdown ensures significant average data consumption uptick; ARPU touches Rs 80 after 9 quarters

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown increased work from home, e-learning, usage of online streaming platforms, etc. and this has come has the silver lining for the ailing telecom sector.

Lockdown ensures significant average data consumption uptick; ARPU touches Rs 80 after 9 quarters
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown increased work from home, e-learning, usage of online streaming platforms, etc. and this has come has the silver lining for the ailing telecom sector. As per data released by the TRAI, average data consumption per subscriber per month has touched 12.1 GB in the April to June quarter. This is not just an all-time high but beats the previous consumption high by approximately 2 GB.
A report by CARE Ratings analysed these figures. The average data consumption estimated to have touched an all-time high in Q1FY21. The reports outline that several factors have been at play which has led to this increase in data consumption.
"During the first 3 quarters of FY20, the average data usage per subscriber per month surged by 50.6 percent to 10.2 GB on a year on year basis. This was backed by a lower price per GB data which on average declined by a sharp 30.9 percent to Rs.7.7 during April-December 2019. Also, an increase in the use of online streaming platforms by subscribers is believed to have supported the growth in data usage. The average data consumption per subscriber per month is believed to have stood at 10.9 GB in the March 2020 quarter. The low-priced service and increased use of online applications have added more subscribers to the broadband base as shown in the table below. Thus the broadband subscribers’ base as on May 2020 is higher by 17.6 percent," reads the report.
Avg Data Consumption trend (per subscriber, per month) 
  • Q1 FY21: 12.1 GB
  • Q4 FY20: 10.9 GB
  • Q3 FY20: 10.4 GB
  • Q2 FY20: 10.4 GB
  • Q1 FY20: 9.8 GB
  • ARPU touches Rs 80 after 9 quarters; near 2018 levels
    The telecom sector saw its average revenue per user (ARPU) stuck between the Rs 70-74 levels in 2019. But the same factors that led to the rise in consumption combined with the tariff hikes in prepaid and postpaid plans done by telecom operators of up to 40 percent, have helped the industry in pushing up the ARPU to Rs 82 after a nine quarter gap.
    CARE Ratings outlines, "Telecom industry’s ARPU is estimated to have touched Rs.80 mark in Q4FY20 after a gap of 9 quarters primarily backed by tariff hikes of up to 40 percent for its prepaid users from the month of December 2019 onward. The effect of this rate hike is estimated to have increased the ARPU at industry level to Rs.81 and Rs.82 in Q4FY20 and Q1FY21, respectively. The telecom industry’s ARPU averaged at Rs.76 in the first 3 quarters of FY20. This implies a growth of 10.1 percent compared to the same period a year ago where the average ARPU stood at Rs 69.”
    The ARPU increased in each of the quarters during April-December 2019.
    “Discontinuation of incoming-only customers or minimal ARPU customers on account of minimum recharge plans supported the ARPU growth. Further, price hikes of up to 40 percent for its prepaid users from December 2019 onward also supported the price rise," the report added.​
    ARPU industry trend (in Rs)
    • Q1FY21: 82
    • Q4FY20: 81
    • Q3FY20: 79
    • Q2FY20: 74
    • Q1 FY20: 74​
    • Q2FY18: 84
    • Q1FY18: 80
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