The telecom industry may witness a drop in subscriber base by up to 60 million with customers looking to switch from using Dual SIMs from multiple operators to single SIM cards.
Earlier we had reported that incumbent operators such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited had introduced a minimum recharge plans for prepaid customers to improve on the average revenue per user (ARPU) and weed out ‘freeloaders’.
Considering that the big three (Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited) have set minimum recharge plans, subscribers see fewer benefits in having multiple SIM cards and for the sake of simplicity and cost-effectiveness stick to one operator. The move could see up to 60 million subscribers give up their second SIM for their primary SIM card in the coming six months.
Currently, there are around 1.2 billion telecom subscribers recorded in August, and out of these 730 to 750 million hold single SIM cards and the rest with multiple SIM cards, according to an Economic Times report. Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI told ET that there will be up to 30 million drop in subscriber base in the coming few months due to ‘SIM consolidation’ that is taking place.
To improve the ARPU, Airtel and VIL had earlier introduced minimum recharge plans of Rs. 35, Rs. 65 and Rs. 95 all offering 28 days validity. Subscribers who did not earlier recharge their plans monthly will now have their outgoing calls blocked in a month and incoming in 45 days. The move is designed to weed out customers who did not bring in revenue to the operators and focus on those that do.