Over the past decade India's mobile sector has developed a sustained momentum, aided by higher subscriber volumes, lower tariffs and falling handset prices. There had been a major push to take mobile services into the poorer and rural areas of the country, a move that inevitably weighed down on ARPU.
India's mobile market dominates the local telecom sector with its large subscriber base and revenue numbers, as well as the huge capital investment by operators. It has continued to be a highly competitive market in which a number of major players together with a larger number of smaller players have been battling to increase market share.
India's mobile market has experienced very strong growth over the last five years. Mobile penetration has risen from 72% in 2011 to 81% in 2016. 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 significant shift to mobile data services across the country. Much will depend on the continuing resilience of the economy in India, with any drop in economic performance quickly triggering a drop in demand for mobile services. Further strong growth predicted over the next five years to 2021. By that year the market will reach mobile penetration of over 90%.
Significant market consolidation amongst the mobile operators was underway in 2016. The three-way merger of SSTL, RCOM and Aircel will establish a company with around 200 million customers, making it the second largest mobile operator by subscribers after Bharti Airtel, and just ahead of Vodafone.
Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India over the past few years driven by a strong and growing mobile subscriber base. Further strong growth is predicted over the next year to 2017. Mobile broadband is set to grow exponentially throughout India, driving digital inclusion and economic growth for India's consumers and businesses.
Despite its huge growth and its potential for further growth, the Indian telecoms market continued to present a number of challenges for mobile operators.
They have struggled to maintain Average Revenue per User (ARPU) levels. The country could boast some of the lowest mobile tariffs in the world, but at the time it also had one of the highest mobile usage levels in the world.
Idea launched its first 4G platform
released plans for a limited LTE launch in that month, with a commercial launch expected to follow
Telenor India is aiming to roll out 4G services to its six active circles by the end of March 2017.
Vodafone continued to rollout 4G services.
Airtel completed the purchase of Augere Wireless Broadband,
Bharti Airtel allocated investment for the upgrade of its pan-Indian network over the next three years under Project Leap'.
India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed to return spectrum in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands.
Bharti Airtel signed an agreement with Aircel to acquire its 4G-compatible spectrum in eight circles.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) made an amendment to the Unified Licence to allow sharing of active infrastructure.
Companies covered in this report include:
Aircel/Dishnet, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Quadrant (HFCL), Idea/Spice, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Telewings (Uninor), Videocon, S Tel, Batelco, Bharti Telenet, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Sistema (Shyam Telelink), Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Videocon SHOW LESS READ MORE >
2. Market Overview and Analysis
2.1 Geographic segments
2.2 Rural expansion
3. Mobile statistics
3.1 General statistics
3.2 Subscribers by Operator
3.3 Mobile Broadband
3.3.2 Mobile broadband statistics
3.4 Forecasts mobile subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
3.4.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
4. Regulatory issues
4.1.2 Spectrum auctions - 2015
4.1.3 Spectrum auctions - 2016
4.1.4 Spectrum Agreements - 2016
4.1.5 Spectrum trading rules
4.2 Call drop investigation
4.3 Operators directed to issue data usage messages
4.6 Network sharing
5. Mobile infrastructure
5.5 4G / LTE
5.5.2 Reliance Jio Infocomm
5.5.3 Bharti Airtel
5.6 Other infrastructure developments
5.6.2 Google - Project Loon
6. Major mobile operators
6.1 Three way Merger of SSTL, RCOM, Aircel
6.1.2 RCOM / Aircel Merger
6.1.3 RCOM / SSTL Merger
6.3 Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL)
6.3.2 Network development
6.3.3 3G development
6.4 Bharti Airtel
6.4.2 3G development
6.4.3 4G / LTE
6.5 Idea Cellular
6.5.3 4G / LTE
6.6 Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
6.8 Reliance Communications
6.9 Reliance Jio Infocomm
6.9.2 4G Network
6.10 SSTL (Sistema)
6.11 Tata Teleservices
6.13.3 4G Network
6.14 Fixed-line business
6.15 Reach mobile
7. Mobile content and applications
7.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
8. Mobile handsets
9. Related reports
Table 1 Overview of India's mobile market (wireless) 2012 2016
Table 2 Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2016
Table 3 Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) 2002 - 2016
Table 4 GSM mobile subscribers and annual change 1997 - 2016
Table 5 Mobile penetration in urban and rural areas 2007; 2009 - 2016
Table 6 Mobile ARPU (GSM and CDMA) 2005 - 2016
Table 7 Mobile operators, subscribers and market share (fixed and wireless) 2015 - 2016
Table 8 Mobile operators, subscribers and market share (wireless) 2015 - 2016
Table 9 Mobile operators Systems and Launch
Table 10 Mobile broadband subscribers 2007 - 2017
Table 11 Forecast mobile subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 12 GSM ARPU 2003 - 2016
Table 13 GSM ARPU by region/circle, prepaid/postpaid/blended March 2016
Table 14 CDMA ARPU 2003 - 2016
Table 15 Aircel mobile subscribers 2004 - 2016
Table 16 BSNL mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 17 Bharti Airtel mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 18 Prepaid as a Percentage of Overall Customer 2015 - 2016
Table 19 Bharti Airtel mobile ARPU 2004 - 2005; 2007 - 2016
Table 20 Idea Cellular mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 21 Idea Cellular 3G mobile subscribers 2013 - 2015
Table 22 Idea Cellular mobile ARPU 2007 2011; 2013 - 2016
Table 23 MTNL mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 24 Quadrant mobile subscribers 2012 - 2016
Table 25 Reliance mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 26 Reliance 3G subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 27 Reliance mobile ARPU 2007 - 2016
Table 28 Sistema mobile subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 29 Tata Teleservices mobile subscribers 2002 - 2016
Table 30 Telenor mobile subscribers 2009 - 2016
Table 31 Vodafone mobile subscribers 2002 2016
Table 32 Vodafone 3G mobile subscribers 2014 - 2015
Table 33 Vodafone - mobile ARPU 2008 - 2016
Table 34 Vodafone fixed-line subscribers 2011 - 2015
Chart 1 - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2006 - 2016
Chart 2 - Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2006 - 2017
Exhibit 1 CDMA 3G commercial deployment in India
Aircel/Dishnet, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Quadrant (HFCL), Idea/Spice, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Telewings (Uninor), Videocon, S Tel, Batelco, 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.