Reliance Industries on Thursday released its fourth quarter and year ended March 2020 results with the company reporting an 40.7% rise in annual revenue of its digital services. According to the company, the digital services which includes Reliance Jio as the key component reported an standalone net profit of Rs 2331 crore during the quarter and Rs 5562 crore for the full year. The annual net profit represents an 88% increase from the previous year. Further, the company said that the average revenue per user (ARPU) during the quarter was at Rs 130.6 per subscriber per month. The total wireless data traffic on the Reliance Jio networks was reported to be 1284 crore GB during the quarter which represents an 34.3% year-over-year (YoY) growth. Similarly, the total voice traffic was said to be 87,634 crore minutes during the quarter, representing an 21% YoY growth. While the total data and voice consumption has increased YoY, the average data consumption has only seen a slight increase while voice consumption has slipped on a YoY basis.
Reliance Jio Maintains Average Data Consumption Per User
Reliance Jio said that the average data consumption per user during the quarter ending March 2020 was at 11.3 GB per month as compared to 11.1 GB in the previous quarter.
The company said that the data traffic has spiked 20% to 25% post the commencement of lockdown per user while the total data traffic on its network spiked to 17 crore GB per day. The COVID-19 lockdown began in India on the night of March 24 while several companies across India had asked its employees to work from home from the second week of March.
During the first and second quarter of the financial year ending March 2020, the average data consumption per user was at 11.4 GB per month and 11.7 GB per month respectively.
In the fourth quarter of the previous year ending March 2019, the average data consumption per user on the Reliance Jio network was at 10.9 GB per month. Reliance Jio said that 70% of the data traffic on its network has been used for watching videos, a stat that the company has highlighted in the past several quarters.
It also has to be noted that as part of its initiative to support the government in its fight against COVID-19, Reliance Jio offered double data along with additional off net minutes. The bonus data and off net minutes were offered on Reliance Jio add-on packs.
“Digital services segment witnessed robust growth in subscriber base and strong customer engagement through the year,” the company said in its release. “Digital Services ensured uninterrupted connectivity for families, businesses and government agencies; further enabling health-care at home, work from home and learn from home under its “Corona Haarega India Jeetega” initiative.”
Despite the COVID-19 lockdown and the additional benefits that were offered to users, the average data consumption has only seen a marginal increase.
ICICI Securities in March said in a report that the average data consumption per subscriber has remained in the range of 10 GB to 14 GB per month across all the operators. The report said that data usage per month has been “quite high due to casual usage on high allowance” of 45 GB per month in the most popular plans. ICICI Securities said that the actual data requirement of users “could be much lower.”
With the operators suggesting new floor prices for data, ICICI Securities said that the users “would buy plans with data allowance that meets their requirement, and optimise their spend on telecom services.”
“Besides, downgrade in data usage will significantly ease congestion on the networks, which will help improve the realised download/upload speed for data subscribers, and also reduce capacity-based capex for telcos,” ICICI Securities said in its report.
Average Voice Consumption Per User Declines on YoY Basis
Similarly, the average voice consumption per user during the fourth quarter ending March 2020 was at 771 minutes per month as compared to 760 minutes in the previous quarter. In the previous year quarter, the average voice consumption per user was at 823 minutes per month.
During the first and second quarter of the financial year ending March 2020, the average voice consumption per user on the Reliance Jio networks was at 821 minutes and 789 minutes respectively. Further, the company in the second quarter said that its subscribers make 9 billion minutes of VoLTE calls every day and 260 billion minutes per month. However, the company made no mention of its VoLTE network in the announcement on Thursday.
ICICI Securities in its report highlighted that Reliance Jio suggested the floor prices for data and not for voice as its voice-only services were used by “marginal number of subscribers.”
One of the key highlights for Reliance Jio during the year has been the subscriber addition that has paved way for rise in total data and voice consumption on its network. During the fourth quarter of the year ending March 2020, Reliance Jio subscriber base was at 387.5 million as compared to 370 million in the third quarter. The company added 17.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter as compared to 14.8 million in the previous quarter. In the quarter ending March 2019, Reliance Jio had a subscriber base of 306.7 million.
The total wireless data consumption on its network in the third quarter of the financial year ending March 2020 was at 1208 crore GB. In the fourth quarter of the previous financial year ending March 2019, the total wireless data consumption was at 956 crore GB.
While the company had an ARPU of Rs 130.6 in the quarter ending March 2020, the ARPU in the previous quarter was at Rs 128.4. The company noted that the full impact of the tariff hike that was implemented in December 2019 would only reflect in the upcoming months. In the previous year quarter ending March 2019, the ARPU for the company was at Rs 133.1.
“Our consumer businesses further strengthened their leadership positions and recorded robust growth on all operating and financial parameters during the year,” Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said in the release. “Both Retail and Jio, continue to work towards providing superior products and services to Indian consumers.”