India - Major Telecommunications Operators

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Last updated: 19 Oct 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 77

Analyst: Peter Evans


The dynamic Indian telecommunications market has one particularly compelling feature – the large number of significant operators. As the market constantly adjusts to the changing pressures and demands, takeovers and mergers ensure that some level of equilibrium is maintained. In the meantime, we have seen significant shifts in market share among the players. Of course it is the country’s booming mobile segment in which the major battles are being fought. Three major private players – Bharti, Reliance and Vodafone - with a formidable 58% share of the market between them coming into 2015 - lead a large field of mobile operators. State-owned enterprises –BSNL and MTNL – had also been making their presence felt with a combined market share of 12%. However, BSNL and MTNL have major financial issues to address, and by early 2015, there market share had dropped to 9%. Although the fixed-line telephony market in India has seen little growth of late (and is in fact shrinking), it remains an important segment of the overall market; the two state-owned operators still deliver the overwhelming majority of fixed-line services.

This report provides details of the major players in India’s telecommunications market. The information offered includes comprehensive set of statistics covering the key areas in which the various telcos operate.

Key developments:

  • despite strong competition, the leading mobile operators in India have managed to hold market share and rankings;
  • in the aftermath of the 2G scandal a number of operators exited the market;
  • licence cancellations and other issues had effectively reduced India’s 15-strong mobile sector to around seven or eight main players coming into 2015;
  • further rationalisation of the market is anticipated;
  • the regulators held a successful re-auction of 2G spectrum in 2014, after two unsuccessful attempts;
  • the government agreed to conciliation talks with Vodafone in their ongoing tax dispute;
  • however, the arbitration was delayed as two of the three-member arbitration panel quit;
  • the telecom minister ruled out the merger of BSNL and MTNL;
  • new player Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI) delayed the launch of its 4G service in end 2015;
  • NTT DoCoMo confirmed that it was exiting its investment in Tata Teleservices.
  • TRAI moved to introduce virtual network operators (VNOs), with a new category of licence;
  • Bharti Airtel cancelled its plans to purchase the assets and subscribers of Loop Mobile;
  • this left Loop in an impossible situation, inevitably exiting the market;
  • Reliance Communications was in talks with Sistema about a potential merger.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Aircel/Dishnet, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Quadrant (HFCL), Idea/Spice, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Telewings (Uninor), Videocon, S Tel, Bharti Telenet, Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), 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, AT&T, France Telecom, SingTel, Hathway Cable, Datacom.

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