Jio surpasses China Mobile to become world's top data traffic operator

Jio surpasses China Mobile to become world's top data traffic operator

Reliance Jio has become the world's largest mobile operator in data traffic consumption, surpassing China Mobile. According to global analytics firm Tefficient, the Indian telecom operator's total traffic reached 40.9 exabytes in the January-March quarter, compared to China Mobile's 38.

Jio also has the second-largest 5G subscriber base globally, with 108 million users. More than 28 per cent of its total wireless data traffic is now consumed by 5G users, said the company in an analyst presentation.

The company attributes its strong performance to the addition of JioBharat phone users and the popularity of its unlimited 5G promotional plans, which have impacted its average revenue per user (ARPU).

Analysts say Jio's rapid user additions and market share gains will lead to increased revenue conversion in the near term, especially when tariffs are hiked after general elections.

Jio's fixed wireless home broadband offering, AirFiber, has seen healthy demand across 5,900 towns, resulting in record-high quarterly home connections. The average daily data usage for AirFiber subscribers is 13 Gigabytes, which is 30 per cent higher than JioFiber subscribers.

Despite these achievements, Jio's ARPU has remained stagnant at Rs 182, as it has not yet monetised 5G.
Analysts note that the addition of low-value JioBharat phone users and promotional unlimited 5G plans continue to impact its ARPU.

“Jio’s impressive 5G availability has driven successful 5G migration at promotional unmetered prices that is severely curtailing 4G data top ups and encouraging opportunistic price shopping to 1.5GB a day plans among price- sensitive consumers,” said brokerage firm JP Morgan in an analyst update on Tuesday.

Nearly 30 per cent of Jio's network usage is currently free due to its unmetered 5G plans, according to analysts.

By the end of the Financial Year 2024 (FY24), Jio's total subscriber base grew from 449 million to 482 million, with an average monthly data consumption of 28.7 GB per user. However, its ARPU has remained stagnant at Rs 182.

Bharti Airtel, Jio’s nearest rival, has seen lower data usage (22.5GB per user at the end of FYQ3) but is recording an upward trend in revenue. Airtel’s user base grew from 339 million to an estimated 350 million (estimated) in FY24. ARPU increased from Rs 200 to an estimated Rs 211 (estimated).

Analysts say increasing headline tariffs are crucial for telecom companies to meaningfully monetise 5G services.