TelecomLead.com Top 10 news in 2012: Airtel needs new strategies to connect 4G/LTE

Telecom Lead Asia: Bharti Airtel, promoted by Sunil Mittal, needs new and unique strategies to connect 4G/LTE with mobile customers.

The strategies are becoming its lifeline because Videocon, Aircel, Tikona, Telenor and Reliance Industries (RIL) are likely to launch 4G/LTE in 2013.

Market watchers admit that Bharti Airtel could not utilize the market conditions as the first 4G player in India.

READ MORE: Bharti Airtel added around 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers through its 4G network in Kolkata and Bangalore.

Airtel launched 4G TD-LTE services in Kolkata in April 2012, Bangalore in May 2012 and Pune was added to its 4G footprint recently.

Analysts question Airtel’s lack of preparedness and high LTE pricing. Its dongles are costly. Availability of Huawei phones will not make sense as the Chinese phone is not the “most sought after phones” among Indian mobile users at present. READ MORE: Huawei’s 4G LTE smartphone in India

Recently, analysts predicted that TD-LTE subscribers will reach 5 million by 2013 in Indian telecom market. 2012-13 will be the year of mobile broadband. Indian LTE market will pick up after 2 years as there will be more LTE smartphone launches in 2012-13 from OEMs such as Nokia, Samsung, and Apple, as well as significant surge in data consumption.

TelecomLead.com estimates that achieving the target of 5 million active 4G users in 2013 will become a big task for current players.

3G and 4G are expected to bring in additional non-voice revenues to Airtel. Percentage of consolidated non-voice revenue to total revenue in Q1 2012-13 was 26.6 percent against 26 percent in Q1 2011-12. Percentage of non-voice revenue to total revenue of Airtel India grew to 16 percent from 15.6 percent during the period.

Airtel is trying to attract customers. The availability and free trial offer of its all new service innovations for Airtel 4G customers – Airtel Broadband TV and Games On-Demand is one of such offerings. Moreover, Airtel 4G services for prepaid customers in Pune will be launched shortly.

The largest mobile operator in India is also trying to add voice to LTE data services.

Recently, K Srinivas, president – Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel, said: “With both home and office users opting for 4G services, it is heartening to see early adopters of this technology acknowledge the experience that Airtel 4G delivers – for everything from streaming videos and downloading music, to accessing business applications, email and rich multimedia content. We are optimistic about the traction that 4G will see in months to come and look forward to rolling out our services in other circles soon.”

In 2010, Airtel had successfully bid for BWA license spectrum in Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) circles. Additionally, earlier this year, Airtel acquired 49 percent stake in Qualcomm AP’s India entities that hold BWA licenses in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.

Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor recently said the company has LTE ARPU of 20 dollars.

LTE service revenues will enjoy an 80 percent cumulative average growth rate over the next five years, reaching $291 billion at the end of 2016. LTE ARPUs will begin sliding as LTE moves beyond early adopters. At the end of 2016, LTE ARPU will be $36 per month, according to Mind Commerce.

“Driven by early adoption among the enterprise users, LTE ARPUs will peak in 2012, reaching $88 per month, and drop down by a year-over-year decline of 16 percent over the next five years as the consumer market segment gains a higher market share,” said Asad Khan, Mind Commerce’s lead analyst for 4G infrastructure, devices & services.

Note: TelecomLead.com’s editors have selected this news based on the impact it created on the industry and the company.

Krishna Aravind
[email protected]

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