India - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in India’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include: 

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Regional market comparisons
  • Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FTTH, DSL);
  • Internet of Things, 5G developments
  • Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2023.

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- October 2018 (24th Edition)

Executive Summary

India’s mobile market continues to consolidate causing massive market upheaval

India continues to be one of the fastest growing major telecom markets in the world. It is also one of the largest. Sweeping reforms introduced by successive Indian governments over the last two decades have dramatically changed the nature of telecommunications in the country. The Indian government has been proactive in its efforts to transform India into a global telecommunication hub.

India's telecom industry is expected to see a major expansion of its network infrastructure during the 2018 to 2020 period. Each of the top three mobile operators: Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are now planning to extend coverage to address a surge in data consumption.

The fixed line market in India remains highly underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand.

As well as its huge national network, India’s investment in telecommunications infrastructure over the last decade has extended to a heavy involvement in the international market. Under the leadership of international operator VSNL/Tata Indicom the country has been assembling an extensive infrastructure of gateways, satellite earth stations and fibre optic submarine cables.

India’s fixed broadband market remains highly under-developed due to the dominance of the mobile platform and in turn by the uptake of mobile broadband. Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next five years to 2023 from a very small base.

Leading Indian fixed broadband service providers have a limited pan-India fixed broadband presence and are mainly focused on metros, and selected tier-1 cities.

The digital economy will help the country align to its goals of expanding the wider Indian economy as well as enhancing jobs. Sectors such as communications, including telecoms, IT services and eCommerce in the coming years will expand further contributing to the country’s digital economic growth.

India is one of the fastest growing eCommerce markets globally however India will take more than 10 years to reach the level of the US and China markets in online retail.

There are several trends in the Indian online education segment that are contributing to the growth opportunities ahead. These included a continuous need for working professionals to learn new skills as well as the emergence of technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence that is enabling online education vendors to design customized content.

India’s mobile market has experienced very strong growth over the last six years. The market remains highly competitive, but rather than a focus only on growth in subscribers the market is shifting to value-added. The roll-out of 4G / LTE services is driving a significant shift to mobile data services across the country.

Particularly strong growth was seen in the 2016-2018 period as newcomer Reliance Jio aggressively entered the market. With its totally 4G offering, Reliance Jio has evolved to become a nationwide mobile operator focused heavily on data, with voice and data services at half the average market rates. This has seen a sharp drop in ARPU amongst most mobile operators and a sharp loss of subscribers by some operators. Operations of smaller-scale mobile operators is becoming increasingly unviable, forcing them to merge or be acquired by larger providers or exit the market entirely.

Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition and an increasingly saturated mobile market.

Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India over the past few years driven by a strong and growing mobile subscriber base and strong adoption of 4G LTE services. Further strong growth is predicted over the next few years, driven by further adoption of 4G and eventually 5G services particularly as the penetration rate is well below a number of other nations.

Uptake of next generation technologies such as Internet-of-things (IoT), and evolving trends such as smart cities, and new devices offering virtual reality experiences will all enhance data usage going forward. Operators will increasingly focus on infrastructure investments such as optical fibre and small cells for expanding 4G coverage and capacity. India has taken initial steps towards the eventual rollout of 5G services

Key Developments

  • The mobile market continues to be the main focus of the Indian telecom sector;
  • India's telecom industry is expected to see a major expansion of its network infrastructure during the 2018 to 2020 period;
  • The Reserve Bank of India drafted guidelines that allows for direct money transfers between the apps of different mobile wallet providers;
  • IoT focus areas will include agriculture, health, transportation, security, automobile, and smart cities;
  • Video will remain the main driver for online content consumption;
  • Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next five years to 2023;
  • India has taken initial steps towards the eventual rollout of 5G services;
  • Market competition is intensifying in the mobile sector, significant market consolidation amongst the mobile operators is underway.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Idea, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Videocon, S Tel, 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), Vodafone, Spectra, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Sistema.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Market overview and analysis
    • 2.2 Regional Asian Market Comparison
    • 2.3 Background
    • 2.4 Telecommunications investment
      • 2.4.1 Infrastructure projects – 2018 - 2020
      • 2.4.2 Investment in digital projects
      • 2.4.3 Rural projects
      • 2.4.4 2018-19 telecoms projects
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Overview
    • 3.2 Regulatory authorities
      • 3.2.1 Ministry for Communications (MoC)
      • 3.2.2 Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
      • 3.2.3 Telecom Commission
      • 3.2.4 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
      • 3.2.5 Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)
      • 3.2.6 Communications Commission of India (CCI)
      • 3.2.7 Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY)
    • 3.3 Licensing circles
    • 3.4 Licensing – VNO’s
    • 3.5 Net neutrality
    • 3.6 Access
    • 3.7 Fibre access
    • 3.8 Interconnect
    • 3.9 Regulatory developments
      • 3.9.1 Regulatory developments - 2015
      • 3.9.2 Regulatory developments - 2014
    • 3.10 Government policies
      • 3.10.1 12th Five Year Plan (2012 – 2017)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Fixed-line statistics by operator
    • 4.2 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)
    • 4.3 Bharti Airtel
    • 4.4 Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
    • 4.5 Quadrant
    • 4.6 Reliance Communications
      • 4.6.1 SSTL (Sistema)
    • 4.7 Tata Teleservices
    • 4.8 Videocon
    • 4.9 Vodafone
    • 4.10 NTT
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 Statistics
    • 5.3 Telecom towers
      • 5.3.1 Overview
      • 5.3.2 Developments
    • 5.4 Rural and regional networks
      • 5.4.1 Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
      • 5.4.2 Public Call Offices (PCOs)
    • 5.5 BharatNet / National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)
    • 5.6 Next Generation Networks (NGN)
    • 5.7 International infrastructure
      • 5.7.1 Background
    • 5.8 Satellite communications
      • 5.8.1 INSAT
      • 5.8.2 Intelsat
      • 5.8.3 Thaicom (formerly ShinSat)
    • 5.9 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.9.1 FLAG
      • 5.9.2 Network i2i
      • 5.9.3 Tata-Indicom cable
      • 5.9.4 SEA-ME-WE 4
      • 5.9.5 Bharat Lanka cable
      • 5.9.6 India, Middle East, Western Europe (I-ME-WE) cable
      • 5.9.7 Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable
      • 5.9.8 Southeast Asia Japan Cable System (SJC)
      • 5.9.9 Submarine cable developments
    • 5.10 Specific IT developments
      • 5.10.1 Data Centres
      • 5.10.2 Cloud Computing
    • 5.11 Smart infrastructure
      • 5.11.1 Internet-of-Things (IoT)
      • 5.11.2 Smart cities
      • 5.11.3 Artificial Intelligence
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market overview and analysis
      • 6.1.2 Broadband statistics and Forecast
      • 6.1.3 National Broadband Policy
      • 6.1.4 National Broadband Plan
    • 6.2 Fixed Broadband Service Providers
      • 6.2.1 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)
      • 6.2.2 Bharti Airtel
      • 6.2.3 Hughes Telecom
      • 6.2.4 Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
      • 6.2.5 Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT)
      • 6.2.6 Vodafone
      • 6.2.7 Spectra
      • 6.2.8 Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
    • 6.3 Fixed Broadband Technologies
      • 6.3.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 6.3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 6.3.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
      • 6.3.4 Fixed wireless
  • 7. Digital economy
    • 7.1 Overview
    • 7.2 e-Commerce
    • 7.3 e-Payments
    • 7.4 e-Education
    • 7.5 Smart meters
  • 8. Digital media
    • 8.1 Videostreaming
      • 8.1.1 IPTV
    • 8.2 Broadcasting market
      • 8.2.1 Overview
      • 8.2.2 Market statistics
      • 8.2.3 Cable TV and Satellite TV
      • 8.2.4 Satellite TV Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Market overview and analysis
      • 9.1.1 Geographic segments
      • 9.1.2 Rural expansion
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 Mobile statistics and Forecast
      • 9.2.2 Mobile broadband statistics and forecast
    • 9.3 Regulatory issues
      • 9.3.1 Spectrum
      • 9.3.2 Mobile subscriber verification
      • 9.3.3 Call drop investigation
      • 9.3.4 Operators directed to issue data usage messages
      • 9.3.5 Interconnection
      • 9.3.6 Roaming
      • 9.3.7 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 9.3.8 Network sharing
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Introduction
      • 9.4.2 GSM
      • 9.4.3 CDMA
      • 9.4.4 3G
      • 9.4.5 4G / LTE
      • 9.4.6 5G Developments
      • 9.4.7 Other infrastructure developments
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 Subscribers by operator
      • 9.5.2 Merger activities – 2016 – 2018
      • 9.5.3 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)
      • 9.5.4 Bharti Airtel
      • 9.5.5 Idea Cellular
      • 9.5.6 Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
      • 9.5.7 Quadrant
      • 9.5.8 Reliance Communications (RCOM)
      • 9.5.9 Aircel
      • 9.5.10 Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio)
      • 9.5.11 Tata Teleservices
      • 9.5.12 Vodafone
      • 9.5.13 Reach mobile
      • 9.5.14 MVNOs
    • 9.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.6.1 Introduction
      • 9.6.2 m-Banking (payments/loans)
      • 9.6.3 m-TV
      • 9.6.4 m-Health
      • 9.6.5 Apps
      • Table 1 – Country Statistics, Major Operators and Telco Authorities – 2018 (e)
      • Table 2 – Top Level Country Statistics – 2018 (e)
      • Table 3 – Telephone services to villages (Universal Services) – 2016
      • Table 4 – Fixed-line subscribers (millions) by operator – 2010 – 2014; 2016 – 2018
      • Table 5 – Fixed Line Service Provider by Rural, Urban Segment – 2018
      • Table 6 – Historic - Fixed Line Service Provider by Rural, Urban Segment – 2017
      • Table 7 – BSNL fixed-line subscribers – 2002; 2012 - 2018
      • Table 8 – Bharti fixed-line subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 9 – MTNL fixed-line subscribers – 2004; 2007; 2010 - 2018
      • Table 10 – Quadrant fixed-line subscribers – 2012 - 2018
      • Table 11 – Reliance fixed-line subscribers – 2005 - 2018
      • Table 12 – Historic - Sistema fixed-line subscribers – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 13 – Tata fixed-line subscribers – 2011 - 2018
      • Table 14 – Historic - Videocon mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 15 – Vodafone Fixed Line subscribers – 2011 - 2018
      • Table 16 – Fixed-line subscribers and penetration – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 17 – Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity (historical) – 1995 - 2005
      • Table 18 – PCOs in operation – 2003 – 2004; 2008 - 2018
      • Table 19 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 – 2023
      • Table 20 – Fixed broadband subscribers - market share by access type (Historical) – 2014
      • Table 21 – Internet penetration – 2006 - 2018
      • Table 22 – Historic - Dial-up internet subscribers – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 23 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 24 – Historic - Number of licensed ISPs – 2002 – 2003; 2005; 2008 - 2013
      • Table 25 – Historic - Cable modem subscribers – 2001 - 2014
      • Table 26 – Historic - DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2014
      • Table 27 – Historic - FttX subscribers – 2010 - 2014
      • Table 28 – Historic - Broadcasting market overview - 2016
      • Table 29 – DTH subscribers – 2008 - 2018
      • Table 30 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
      • Table 31 – Historic - Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 32 – Mobile penetration in urban and rural areas – 2007; 2009 - 2018
      • Table 33 – Mobile ARPU (GSM and CDMA) – 2005 - 2018
      • Table 34 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2010 - 2023
      • Table 35 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
      • Table 36 – GSM ARPU – 2003 - 2018
      • Table 37 – CDMA ARPU – 2003 - 2018
      • Table 38 –Mobile subscribers and market share – 2017 - 2018
      • Table 39 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and market share – 2017
      • Table 40 – Historic - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share (wireless) – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 41 – Historic - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share (fixed and wireless) – 2016 - 2017
      • Table 42 – Historic - Mobile operators, subscribers and market share (fixed and wireless) – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 43– Mobile operators – Systems and Launch
      • Table 44 – BSNL mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 45 – Bharti Airtel mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 46 – Bharti Airtel mobile ARPU – 2004 - 2018
      • Table 47 – Historic - Telenor mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 48 – Idea Cellular mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 49 – Idea Cellular mobile ARPU – 2007 – 2011; 2013 - 2018
      • Table 50 – MTNL mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 51 – Historic - Quadrant mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 52 – Reliance mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 53 – Reliance mobile ARPU – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 54 – Historic - Sistema mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 55 – Aircel mobile subscribers – 2004 - 2018
      • Table 56 – Reliance Jio mobile subscribers – 2017 - 2018
      • Table 57 – Reliance mobile ARPU – 2018
      • Table 58 – Tata Teleservices mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 59 – Vodafone mobile subscribers – 2002 – 2018
      • Table 60 – Vodafone - mobile ARPU – 2008 - 2018
      • Chart 1 – Mobile, Mobile Broadband & Fixed Broadband Penetration – 2018; 2023
      • Chart 2 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index by Market Category
      • Chart 3 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
      • Chart 4 –Telecoms Maturity Index – Central Asia
      • Chart 5 - Fixed-line subscribers and penetration – 2007 - 2018
      • Chart 6 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 – 2023
      • Chart 7 - Internet penetration – 2007 - 2018
      • Chart 8 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
      • Chart 9 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2010 - 2023
      • Exhibit 1 – Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
      • Exhibit 2 – Central Asia -Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
      • Exhibit 3 – Major shareholders in Bharti Airtel
      • Exhibit 4 – ISRO satellite network
      • Exhibit 5 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in India
      • Exhibit 6 – CDMA 3G commercial deployment in India

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