Data income is one of the lowest for Indian mobile operators in Asia Pacific

Indian mobile industry reports one of the lowest data income (excluding SMS) as

a percentage to total revenue.


Operators in both India and Thailand generated 7 percent of their total income
from data (excluding SMS) in 2010, while average data income for Bangladesh
operators was 3 percent.


Data income as a percentage to total income in all other leading countries is
in double digits: Australia (26 percent), Korea (23 percent), Singapore (21
percent), Indonesia (19 percent), Malaysia (19 percent), China (17 percent),
Philippines (15 percent) and Taiwan (10 percent), according to GSMA.


According to a TRAI report,
the number of subscribers who have subscribed to data services has decreased 9
percent to 346.67 million in Q1 2011-12 against 381.4 million in the same quarter
in 2010. This is the first decline in the last 5 quarters.


This is despite the agressive roll out of 3G services by all leading operators
including Bharti Airtel, BSNL, MTNL, Aircel, Reliance Communications, Tata
Teleservices, Idea Cellular, etc.


In June 2010, the number of subscribers who have subscribed to data services
was 213.81 million. It grew to 274.05 million (September 2010), 332.43 million
(December 2010) and 381.4 million (March 2011).


GSMA, in its latest report, said that they did not include data for Japan, Hong
Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.


Data and VAS revenues comprise a growing share of total service revenues for
mobile operators, though there remains a wide variation between countries and


For example, Australia’s data revenues (excluding SMS) are at more than a
quarter of total. Conversely, Bangladesh at the other end of the scale is a
much more voice-focused market, with just 3 percent of revenues coming from
data services.


Similarly, in China, a recent Nielsen survey shows that only a slight majority
of mobile consumers (54 percent) used their devices for non-SMS data such as
e-mail, gaming and music, while over a third used their phones for SMS and
voice only. The remaining 10 percent used their phones for calls only.


However, there are opportunities for increase data income. As intense
competition and saturation on voice starts to drive down margins, many
operators have been looking to mobile data for the next wave of revenue growth.


As early as August 2009, the CEO of Malaysia’s third player DiGi, Johan
Dennelind, highlighted where their future focus would be by stating, “Our key
positionings are around 3G and Internet services”.


Similarly, when E-Mobile entered the crowded Japanese market in 2007 it based
its market positioning around the provision of mobile broadband data services,
before only later moving into the voice market.

By Baburajan K
[email protected]