Will Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance invest more to tap $200 bn enterprise biz

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, BSNL, Tata Docomo and Reliance Communications are in the process of expanding their offerings for enterprises – but a slower pace.

The main focus of Indian telecoms is continuing in adding revenue from existing and new wireless customers and not enterprises.

The recent expansion of 3G networks and the launch of 4G LTE services in limited towns are aimed at boosting the experience of their mobile customers and not enterprises.

At present, Indian telecoms are missing the opportunity in the enterprise communication market. The global size of enterprise communication market will exceed $200 billion in 2020, according to ABI Research. The drop in smartphone price will support the growth in the global enterprise mobility market.

Dan Shey, managing director and Vice President at ABI Research, said: “Telecom operator services need to focus on driving the most value from the smartphone to the enterprise user, such as assisting in choosing the right devices and applications, and offering services to manage device content and functionality.”

Vodafone India says enterprise business contributes around 15 percent of its service revenues.

Bharti Airtel generated Rs 2,347.9 crore revenue from its India enterprise business in the December quarter of 2015 – representing 13.3 percent of the total India revenues.

Reliance Communications generated Rs 1,106 crore revenue from global business and Rs 4,651 crore revenue from Indian business in the December quarter of 2015.


Voice services, which are still an important revenue component for mobile operators, must continue to provide consistent and quality network performance domestically while offering increasingly simplified, cost-effective access to voice and data services when travelling internationally, according to Dan Shey.

Security is a vital element to enterprise smartphone usability. Telecom operators can play a pivotal role in supporting security application needs while offering enterprise workers guidance toward smartphone usage and security best practices.

Research firm AMI Partners says enterprise CIOs and IT managers are focusing on preventing data loss, ensuring system backups and disaster recovery solutions as they realize the greater strategic importance these functions are for the organization. Cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions present an affordable, more easily manageable and flexible alternative to on-premise solutions.

ABI Research says Asia Pacific will overtake North America in 2017 to become the biggest market for enterprise mobility revenues.

“New growth opportunities exist, though some are not yet mature enough to drive large revenue streams, and operators should be preparing partnerships, strategies and network transformation to assure continued relevance in the larger ecosystem,” said Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director, Wireless Operator Strategies at Strategy Analytics.

AMI Partners recently said 88 percent of SBs and 56 percent of MBs access the internet with speeds less than 10 Mbps. Improving broadband connectivity has been an ongoing focus area for India SMBs and will continue to be a major concern.

IoT boom

Mobile enterprise revenues include voice, messaging, handset data plans, mobile broadband, business-to-employee applications and enterprise mobility management services. IoT and Smart City projects will be a big market for Indian telecoms.

ABI Research points out that telecom operator’ smartphone strategies need to evolve to support applications and opportunities that will stem from the billions of connections in the Internet of Things (IoT). AT&T, Verizon, Tele2 and Vodafone created partnerships with major ICT suppliers for building integrated solutions that can leverage smartphone applications and services.


Vodafone India says its enterprise customer base reached 7 million in Sept 2015. Vodafone Business Service is growing at double the industry growth — led by growth in fixed line and in SME business across India.

The Indian subsidiary of Vodafone Group plc of UK is making investment in Machine-to-Machine solutions and Cloud infrastructure. Some of the growth areas for Vodafone India will be Public Sector Enterprises, State Governments, SMBs, Digital India and smart cities.


One of the main components of the Rs 60,000 crore investment program by Bharti Airtel is to accelerate its business from enterprises.

Announcing the Project Leap program, Airtel said it will use its infrastructure to deploy a range of solutions that include fiber to the building as well as Internet Wireless Access Network (IWAN). Airtel plans to provide seamless connectivity to the millions of small and medium enterprises.

Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal said: “We are confident that “Project Leap” will help Airtel build a smart and dynamic network that will significantly improve the quality of both voice and data services across the length and breadth of the country.”

The Rs 2,347.9 crore revenues of Airtel India’s enterprise business are from: Enterprise and Government business, which is predominantly Data, and Global Business which includes wholesale voice and data. The enterprise revenue of Airtel and Vodafone indicates about the untapped market. India government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is focusing on Digital India, Make In India, Smart City and start-up programs. The latest economy boosters will enhance demand for enterprise mobility.

Since Indian telecoms are complaining about declining ARPU from mobile services, enterprise mobility has the potential to become the growth driver — supported by 3G and 4G networks.

Baburajan K
[email protected]