MTS Sistema India, with 11mn wireless subscribers in India, is down to operations in 9 circles now, but is still sounding upbeat on exploiting its data capabilities (LTE outlook) and focusing more on tier 2/3 cities. These 9 circles represent 75% of their existing revenues and around 60% total market coverage.
MTS Sistema India in a Conference Call said that it is well positioned to grow LTE on 800MHz given regional developments on this band and also now that the spectrum is considered “technology neutral“, allowing it to offer LTE eventually all operators could benefit upon license renewals. As seen in most other countries, the 4G / LTE spectrum is expensive and here in India, theoretically, operators can now get 4G at lower prices, which could be very compelling given the data growth expectations.
Now recall, in August 2012, I had made a case for operators with Broadband / Data dreams to bid for Bottom 16 Circles of 800MHz Spectrum. With Reliance Jio Infocomm having 2.3GHz BWA / LTE Spectrum, it would have made sense for them to Bid for 800MHz as well as we know that 80% of India’s Backhaul is Microwave. Also 800Mhz for LTE has many advantages as pointed out by Arthur D Little after the auctions in Europe,
Firstly, it carries farthest, so that wide rural regions can be covered with fewer sites. Secondly, it enables the best indoor coverage, which is critical as people will mostly be using LTE-based data connections indoors on their smartphones, notebooks or tablet PCs. Operators with 800 MHz spectrum will also have the only nationwide LTE networks, and be able to provide the best customer experience; large cell overlap areas of 800 MHz antennas ensure continuous data connections while moving in cars or on trains
MTS Shyam Sistema Teleservices Operational Performance Highlights
Its non-voice revenue [Data + Others] accounts for 37% of revenues in 4Q12, but total revenue fell 3% sequentially to INR3.9bn. ARPU of Rs 79 was up 1% sequentially while MoU of 268 minutes rose 2%. RPM was down 1%.
Look @ the Future – Establish MTs as Operator of Choice and Create Highest Level of LTE Experience. Have plans to Monetize through Consolidation.