NEWS BREAK : BSNL lost number two position to Vodafone in revenue

The state-run telecom major BSNL has become the third largest service provider as the company reported gross revenues of Rs 72078.10 million for the quarter ending March 2011, according to TRAI.

Vodafone Essar overtook BSNL to gain number two position, clocking revenues of Rs 79997.10 million for the quarter ending March 2011.

Vodafone reported a 20 percent increase in APAC revenues, led strongly by India, Africa and Middle East revenues. Vodafone added 2.40 million users at the end of April 2011, taking its total subscriber base in India to 136.97 million.

According to a statement by Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group, “Our performance in India has been driven by increasing voice penetration and a more stable pricing environment.”

Vodafone is also considering starting an IPO in India next year for Vodafone Essar, similar to its South African unit, Vodacom, after it settles its outstanding legal issues in the country.

Last year, BSNL had gross revenues of Rs 300,240 million, while this year that figure has fallen further to Rs 290,013 million. BSNL added 0.17 million customers at the end of April taking its overall subscriber numbers to 87.147 million, and  providing it with a 11.13 percent share of the Indian wireless service provider market.

While BSNL continues to lead in the broadband segment in India with its ISP and V-SAT gross revenues adding up to Rs 6530.22 million, its all-India NLD gross revenues stood at Rs 17170.70 million, ILD revenues stood at Rs 5290.43 million.

Despite being the first operator in the country to offer 3G services, BSNL had failed to garner much enthusiasm for its 3G services, even before private operators won 3G, and now it is simply unable to compete in a market where private players are given preference.

Falling ARPUs, the failure of the MTNL-BSNL mergers, and recently a breach of the interconnect or roaming agreements with Reliance Communications, as well as its its continued losses due to MNP, where together with fellow PSU, MTNL it has lost the maximum number of subscribers, did not bode well for the operator last fiscal.

Bharti Airtel has retained its position as the top cellular operator in the country with revenues at Rs 125120.80 million for the quarter ending March 2011, according to TRAI.

However, the operator saw a 32.6 percent decrease in its net profits in fiscal 2010-11. The operator added 2.41 million subscribers at the end of April 2011, taking its total subscriber base in the country to 164.61 million.

Bharti’s broadband gross revenue figures for the March quarter stood at Rs 10.03 million, including ISP and V-SAT. Some significant achievements for Bharti Airtel India in the last fiscal were tying up with Apple to bring the iPhone 4 to India, launching Airtel Broadband TV, being the first operator to start m-wallet services in India, launching India’s first mobile app store, and of course the launch of its Africa operations, buying out telecom major, Zain.

By Beryl M
[email protected]