From a humble start, growth in India’s mobile sector rapidly picked up pace and developed a sustained momentum, aided by higher subscriber volumes, lower tariffs and falling handset prices. Home to a group of global operators working with local companies, India had around 900 million mobile subscribers (including both GSM and CDMA services) at the start of 2012. The market was continuing to grow, achieving an annual rate of around 20% in 2011; however, the rate of growth was slowing in 2012. While ARPU had steadily declined as competing operators offer cheaper tariffs the usage levels remained reasonably high thus slowing the decline in revenues. There had been a major push in recent years to take mobile services into the poorer and rural areas of the country, a move that inevitably weighed down on ARPU. In 2010 the long-awaited 3G auctions finally took place. In 2010/2011 the 3G networks were rolled out and services delivered to customers. But things went sour for the mobile industry in particular when the unfolding scandal over the awarding of 2G licences in 2008 took centre stage at the beginning of 2012. The Supreme Court directed that 122 licences awarded four years earlier be cancelled, throwing the sector into chaos. Further court decisions and the subsequent responses of the regulators were central to the eventual outcome. The cancelled licences were set to be re-auctioned in late 2012.
This report looks at the mobile market in India and presents a set of relevant market statistics. It also examines the technology platforms in place and those being put in place. And finally the report looks at the range of mobile voice and data services in India.
The mobile market has seen the subscriber base expanding by 10%-15% annually in 2012; with mobile penetration of around 80% there was room for further growth; having fallen steeply, ARPUs appeared to be stabilising by 2012; in the meantime, the 2G scandal has seen a large scale cancellation of mobile licences that had been issued in 2008; a number of operators were either exiting the market as a result or were still considering whether to rebid in the re-auction of 2G licences; the regulators were aiming to hold the re-auction before the end of 2012, but further delays could well occur; the 3G market was growing steadily, but certainly not as fast as expected; the regulator had directed operators to stop providing services under 3G roaming pacts.
Companies covered in this report include:
Aircel/Dishnet, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Quadrant (HFCL), Idea/Spice, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Uninor (Unitech), Videocon, S Tel, Bartelco, Bharti Telenet, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Sistema (Shyam Telelink), Swan Telecom, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Data Access, Hughes Telecom, Videocon, SingTel.