Since Jio started charging for its services, Vodafone has retained its high value mobile broadband customers and has seen a lower rate of revenue decline in mid-value customers. Total Mobile Broadband Subscriber Base of Vodafone India now stands at 38 Million. It has also witnessed an improvement in the size of recharges. However, the market remains fragile. Further, Vodafone (and the other major operators) has increased allowances for the same price, rather than cutting prices. Hence, its ARPU has been relatively stable.
Jio’s 4G feature phones for Voice
On the threat of JIO introducing a feature phone, Mr. Sood said that currently the majority of feature phone sales are in urban areas. In rural areas, subscribers change phones once in three or four years making a feature phone investment quite significant. In Vodafone’s base, 70% of the feature phone customers are at Rs50 ARPU. Hence, if JIO were to offer a Rs100 plan, there would be uptrading if it succeeded.
The 2500 MHz Spectrum for Wireless Broadband in India
Large Indian cities already have 30-40% penetration of 2500MHz handsets. With 2500MHz being one of the 4G bands in China, Vodafone expects the handset and equipment ecosystem to improve rapidly and for this band to be cost effective.