TelecomLead CEO 2011 (India) : Himanshu Kapania, Idea Cellular

Himanshu Kapania took over as managing director of
Idea Cellular in the month of April 2011, in the wake of challenges such as
regulatory uncertainty over the re-pricing of 2G spectrum, a hostile telecom
ministry and the launch of 3G in a competitive marketplace.

Under the guidance of Himanshu Kapania, Idea Cellular has
seen several achievements this year. The first achievement was the landmark of
1 million 3G users within the first month of launch in India;
currently Idea has approximately 2.5 million 3 G subscribers across the nation.

The year has been very good for Idea Cellular as it has
turned the fortunes of the company. Idea Cellular reported 26 percent increase
in consolidated income during Q2 FY 2012 at INR 46,199 million as compared with
INR 36,592 million in Q2 FY 2011.

The growth in revenue is driven by the company’s new
milestone of 100 million customers. However, the increasing proportion of rural
subscribers has prompted the company to report 2.2 percent sequential revenue
growth after high growth of 6.7 percent and 7.0 percent in the previous two

As Idea Cellular’s subscriber base touched 100 million,
the company also continued its record of the highest active subscriber ratio
(VLR), in the industry, which was 92 percent of its total subscriber base.

Adding another feather to its cap, Idea Cellular has
become the mobile service provider with highest proportion of rural subscribers
to its total subscribers.

This proportion has grown from 51.62 percent at the end
of March 2011 to 52.76 percent at the end of June 2011, according to TRAI,
India’s telecom regulator.

Presently, Idea Cellular is India’s 3rd largest mobile
operator, but this year it has become the largest operator in UP West &
Uttarakhand and it also extended its “Gold Standard’ 3G services to cover
all major towns in the region. Idea’s 3G services are available across 145
towns in UP West & Uttarakhand.

Since the introduction of Mobile Number portability (MNP)
in November last year, about 1.8 crore people have availed this facility. And,
evidently Idea has been the biggest gainer with a net gain of 15.7 lakh
customers followed by Vodafone and Bharti Airtel at 12.1 lakh
and 3 lakh, respectively.

According to the latest data provided by the Cellular
Operators Association of India (COAI), Idea Cellular added 2.17 million, taking
its total user-base to 103.99 million in the month of November 2011.

Under the leadership of Himanshu Kapania, the company also announced its plans to
launch 3G enabled Idea branded Android smartphones to promote 3G data uptake.

The company now has 9,700 3G towers compared with less
than 7,000 last quarter. According to Kapania, in terms of 3G customers, Idea
has offered the service to over 2.5 million of its existing users but it
observed that just over 750,000 of these customers have seriously 3G data
services. The company plans to move to a stringent definition of 3G data usage
subscribers for subsequent quarters.

However, the company has been involved in the 3G roaming
pact with other leading carriers and been served with a show-cause notice by
the DoT.

Despite this hiccup, the year has been significant for
Himanshu Kapania and Idea Cellular. The company is giving stiff competition to
other leading carriers with its increasing subscriber base and market share.

Note: The selection of the CEO has been
done by editorial team.

By Danish Khan
[email protected]