Tag Archives: Wireless-India

How much Mobile Call Tariff Hike Required to Offset Regulatory burden in India ?


Mobile Tariff Hike in IndiaTelecommunications Industry by design is a capital intensive business and with rising Spectrum Prices, the CAPEX is still higher. World over the Telecom industry operates in Lobby or in an oligarchic setup and is no different in India. One thing is certain, everybody from the GSM incumbents to potential entrants like Reliance Infotel are using every means to manipulate Telecom Policy. But with 2G Spectrum Scam in the public domain, any large scale manipulation is ruled out as it will lead to series of Court Room Battles.

The need to increase Mobile Call Tariffs gets stronger as the due date for remitting additional spectrum charge nears. One can expect a sustained and calibrated, tariff hikes. The key questions are Continue reading How much Mobile Call Tariff Hike Required to Offset Regulatory burden in India ?

Wireless Operators @ DoT to surrender Licenses – Consolidation Soon

The DoT has leaked to the media that some of the new entrants have approached the DoT to surrender license and spectrum in some or all of the circles. Etisalat DB, Loop, S Tel are the likely players. This means their will be an end to the 2G wireless spectrum crunch faced by the incumbent players and hence better use of 3G spectrum for Broadband and Data.

As per current license conditions, there is no refund of license fees on return of license and spectrum. However DoT is studying the same to enable exit of some of the non-starter telcos. DoT is also studying M&A guidelines to enable Continue reading Wireless Operators @ DoT to surrender Licenses – Consolidation Soon

Reliance Mobile ARPU Drops 24% in Q2- Broadband ARPU Rises

RCom quietly announced its results yesterday [if you run a company and have bad results to announce, do so on a holiday, only if you are worried about huge SELL OFF in your stock] and the numbers look way too ugly. Employees at the Wireless division must be singing Queen’s song – Under Pressure 😉 Look at Wireless ARPU Rs 161 [GSM + CDMA + FWP] it has dropped 24% QoQ. EBITDA down 20% and Net profit has halved. Awesome!!! Quick peek into the results, Continue reading Reliance Mobile ARPU Drops 24% in Q2- Broadband ARPU Rises

GSM Wireless Subscribers Base at 289 mn Ex-Reliance – Airtel Subscribers Reach 94 mn

According to figures released by the COAI, the Indian GSM Wireless Subscribers base has touched 288 mn [ 288,363,482] excluding Reliance GSM. GSM operators added a record 10.8 mn subscribers in the month of March-09, the highest ever addition since they began operations in India.

  • Vodafone Essar India added 2.84 m subscribers beating Airtel to reach 68.76 m subs
  • Bharti Airtel added 2.80 m subs takings its total tally to 93.9m
  • Idea Cellular added 1.5 m subs ans is now serving 43 m subs across India
  • Aircel is coming strong as it added 1 m subs and now has a total subscriber base of 18.4 m
  • BSNL continues to be the laggard adding just another 1.08 m subs and has a base of 46 m subs

Will be updated when Reliance GSM releases its numbers.

Bharti Airtel Downplays Reliance Mobile GSM Tariff War

Bharti Airtel’s management dismissed any threat from Reliance Mobile’s GSM Tariff war which includes Free minutes and Low Lifetime Pre-Paid validity cards. Significant number of questions in the Analyst call were related to the tariff war which was downplayed collectively by Akhil Gupta, Manoj Kohli and Sanjay Kapoor.

Mr. Sanjay Kapoor President, Mobile Services at Bharti Airtel said,

We will not have a knee jerk reaction. No free minutes models are sustainable. Reliance will eventually withdraw after sometime. Airtel will remain competitive with excellent QoS. Since Reliance GSM launch in the past few weeks, we have not seen any impact nor there is any such caution to be noticed.

I am not quite sure which of the above executives said this,

Free Minutes will see huge rise in traffic. There is a section of customers who are deal seekers and who churn from operator to operator.  Once freebies stop, these customers move back or settle else where. We are not worried about this.

Coinciding with elimination of FREE Minutes and distinguishing itself as a Superior Wireless Company in India, Bharti Airtel did terminate some FREE minute schemes thus seeing lesser MOUs.

Mr. Sanjay Kapoor further came down heavily on Reliance Communications,

There is a cost differential in maintaining and expanding 900 MHz and 1800 MHz networks. Reliance currently has constant revenue stream and is thus offering FREE minutes to lure customer. However, this cannot go on as the company will start eating into its own revenues [60 CDMA mobile subscribers] and is self destructive. Market seeks Big Brands. The top 2 companies had 50% of the Revenue market share. Airtel has a huge loyal subscriber base.

Additional details from the Call,

  • Airtel has seen an increase of less than 1% in Spectrum charges and is awaiting more spectrum in more circles.
  • Addition of new users unlikely to drive the MOU / ARPUs. What this really means is as Airtel expands in rural areas, market expected customers to rise and MOU to fall, but looks like the company now has a solid strategy to preserve it from being eroded.
  • Airtel declined to comment on WiMax bidding as the policies are still unclear and also for competitive reasons. [So this makes me thinking if Airtel now wants to bid for WiMax spectrum along with 3G ?]
  • International Roaming revenues have been below expectations. [We really wish Mr. Maran was still in the HotSeat of IT & Communications ministry where we could have seen a drastic fall in International Roaming Rates]

Even with the launch of Reliance Mobile GSM discounted tariffs, Airtel clearly states that there is no shift from the sweet-spot to sub-optimal, at the moment 🙂 It is really worth noticing that Reliance continues to offer FREE calling while Airtel is against it. What are you consumers for ? [Remember QoS, Customer Care etc]

India Wireless Subscriber base at 342 mn – Dec-2008

At the end of Dec-2008, Indian Wireless subscriber base touched 342 mn [+49.0% yoy]. A whopping 75.5% of the subscribers are on GSM platform while the remaining 24.5% opted for CDMA. 112m wireless subs were added in 2008, 36% more than were added in 2007 (83m).

Top Mobile Service Providers in India at the end of 2008:

  • Bharti Airtel – Ended 2008 with 85.65 mn subscribers
  • Reliance Communications – GSM + CDMA together had 61.34 mn subscribers
  • Vodafone Essar – 60.93 mn mobile subscribers
  • BSNL – 41.36 mn cellular subscribers
  • Idea Cellular – 34.21 mn + Spice – 3.8 mn
  • Tata Teleservices / Indicom Mobile – 31.76 mn subscribers

The following pie-chart shows the market share of various mobile operators in India led by Bharti Airtel controlling 25% of the market.Latest Wireless Subscribers market share India

Indian Metros had 56.06 mn subscribers while Circle A had 120.75 mn subscribers. Circle B is leading the telecommunication revolution with 126.82 mn subscribers while Circle C is still trying to catch up with 38.38 mn subscribers. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar had comparable ARPU / Month of Rs 320 while that of Reliance Communications is around Rs 300.

So where do you think India will end 2009 with in terms of subscribers ? Can we hit the 500 mn milestone this year ?