A woman checks her phone as she walks past a mobile store of Reliance Industries' Jio telecoms unit in Mumbai. Photo: Reuters

After disrupting India’s mobile service provider ecosystem last year, Reliance Jio Infocomm, owned by the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is set to become the second-biggest operator in terms of subscribers in urban areas. Analysts also expect Reliance Jio to post a net profit next fiscal on the back of strong user additions and higher average revenue per user (ARPU).

According to the data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Bharti Airtel is still the top operator in urban areas with 140 million users. Vodafone has about 95 million subscribers in urban areas closely followed by Reliance Jio at about 90 million. There are 680 million urban subscribers in the country, reports The Hindu Business Line.

Quoting a report by the financial research firm IIFL, the daily said Reliance Jio has almost become the second-largest urban telecom operator by subscribers and has similar number of rural subscribers as the state-owned BSNL.

Reliance Jio’s offering of low cost 4G data plan also changed consumer behavior. A 4G subscriber, on an average, uses four times more data than a 3G subscriber and India has more 4G subscribers than 3G or 2G data subscribers, IIFL added. Other players such as Airtel, Idea and Vodafone too have come up with competitive data plans.

As for ARPU, Reliance Jio caused a flutter on Friday by reporting an ARPU of Rs 156.4 in the second quarter, higher than Rs 154 recorded by market leader Airtel.

Analysts expect Jio to add another 42 million customers in the second half of FY18, taking its overall base to 181 million by March 2018 and to 205 million by March 2019, from its present level of 139 million ended September, backed by both smartphone and Jio Phone subscriber growth.

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