Airtel India and Idea Cellular cash in on mobile data as voice biz troubles

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The voice revenue performance of Airtel India and Idea Cellular during the second quarter ended September 30, 2015 against the previous quarter was disappointing.

The two competing telecom operators could not compete in the voice market in India and improve revenue. But their performance in data market was above the mark.

Dull voice biz

Total revenue of Airtel India fell 1 percent to Rs 136,556 million – primarily due to dip in its voice business revenue. For comparison, Idea Cellular’s total revenue dipped 1 percent to Rs 86,891 million.

Minutes on the network of Airtel fell 3 percent to 282,138 million from 290,802 million.

Airtel said voice usage per customer dipped 5 percent to 404 minutes, while voice ARPU decreased 6 percent.

Booming data business

Airtel India has 51,013,000 (+3 percent) data customers. Idea Cellular has 41,334,000 data customers against 37,156,000.

The number of 3G customers of Bharti Airtel was 23.89 million (+12 percent). Idea Cellular has 24.5 million 3G subscribers against 21.3 million in the previous quarter.

Total MBs on the Airtel network was 114,960 million MBs (+13 percent). Data volume at Idea network was 72,013 million MB against 62,677 million MB.

Data ARPU of Airtel was Rs 193 (+7 percent). Data ARPU of Idea Cellular fell to Rs 144 from Rs 147.

Idea Cellular said 3G data ARPU for 3G data subscriber dipped to Rs 202 from Rs 203. Airtel does not share 3G ARPU related data.

Voice ARPU of Airtel was Rs 140 (-6 percent). Voice ARPU of Idea Cellular fell to Rs 126 from Rs 134.

Total ARPU of Airtel was Rs 193 (-3 percent). Idea Cellular clocked ARPU of Rs 175 against Rs 182 in the previous quarter.

Data usage per customer was 765 MB (+8 percent), said Airtel. Data usage by Idea Cellular’s data subscriber increased to 615 MB from 599 MB.

The data consumption is not healthy considering the fact that Bharti Airtel has rolled out its 4G LTE networks in 330 towns across the country. Idea Cellular, which will start 4G roll outs, will cover 600 towns in the first half of 2016.

Airtel does not talk about 4G ARPU.

Bharti Airtel customer base grew to 235.21 million (+2 percent). Idea Cellular’s customer base rose to 166.6 million from 162.1 million.

Churn of Airtel mobile subscribers increased to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent. Idea Cellular said its churn was 5.1 percent against 4.7 percent.

Bharti Airtel said its DSL broadband grew 6 percent to 1,636,000.

ARPU from Airtel’s DSL broadband rose 1 percent to Rs 1,066 or $16.4.

Airtel India has 62,447 3G cell sites against 52,886 in the prior quarter. On the other hand, Idea Cellular had 39,867 3G sites against 33,621.

The number of 2G sites for Airtel fell to 87,071 from 94,730 in the Indian telecom market. 2G sites of Idea Cellular increased to 119,276 from 115,575.

Baburajan K
[email protected]