Bharti Airtel and Hughes Communications India announced an agreement to combine their VSAT operations in India.
Hughes will have majority stake in the combined entity and Airtel will have a significant shareholding. Airtel did not reveal the specific details about the shareholding structure and financial benefits from the first major consolidation in the Indian VSAT market.
Hughes is the number one operator in the Indian VSAT market. Bharti Airtel is the second largest VSAT operator.
The combined entity will benefit from enhanced scale, improved operational efficiencies and wider market reach. The combined entity will continue to serve existing Hughes and Airtel customers, Ajay Chitkara, director and CEO of Airtel Business, said.
“These are exciting times for satellite broadband service providers as VSAT becomes more mainstream, driven by growing demand from both, enterprise and government segments,” Partho Banerjee, president and managing director of Hughes Communications India, said.
The total number of VSAT subscribers in India increased by 5,512 at a growth rate of 1.96 percent to 287,424 in Dec 2018 from 281,912 in Sept 2018, according to the latest statistics available from TRAI.
Hughes has 103,168 VSAT installations in India. Bharti Airtel, the number one telecom operator based on revenue, has 79,604 VSAT installations across India. Airtel generated annual revenue of INR 124,537 million from its Business division in fiscal 2018-19 vs INR 113,566 million during the previous fiscal.
Tatanet Services has 67,584 VSAT installations, while HCL Comnet has 18,154, BSNL has 16,307, Infotel Satcom has 2,533 and Cloudcast Digital has 74.