By Nikhil Pahwa & Vikas SN

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Airtel India has reported 54.4 million mobile Internet connections, up 7.44% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), adding 3.77 million data connections during the quarter. Year on year, it reported a 31.2% growth from 41.5 Mn data customers in the same quarter last year.

What’s particularly interesting though is that Airtel’s 4G connection base has crossed the 100,000 mark during the quarter. Prior to this, Airtel hadn’t disclosed any 4G subscriber information and the last number we had is of September 2012 when the Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Milind Deora had mentioned that Airtel has been able to sign-up only 3,180 subscribers since launch.

Note that Airtel is currently the only telco offering 4G services in India, although 2014 might just be the year when other players like Reliance Jio, Aircel and Videocon will commercially rollout its respective 4G services in the country. The telco offers this service through dongles and routers in six Indian cities and last month, it had stated plans to launch 4G LTE services for smartphones in Bangalore.

Besides this, Airtel says 27.4% of its total customer base were active data users during the quarter, as compared to 22.8% in the corresponding quarter last year. Data usage per customer saw a 54.4% increase to 249 MB during the quarter, up from 161 MB in the corresponding quarter last year, which lead to higher data ARPU of Rs 75 for the quarter, up 58.7% year-on-year.

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Other Data Related Numbers 

– The data traffic in India increased by 97.0% to 39.0 billion MBs during the quarter, compared to 19.8 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter last year. Globally, data traffic grew significantly by 97.7% to 45.8 billion MBs for the quarter, up from 23.2 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter last year.

– Airtel deployed 1,563 new 3G sites during the quarter and currently has 28,179 active 3G sites by the end of the quarter.

– Airtel had 137,069 sites overall by the end of this quarter, up from 135,412 sites in the previous quarter.

– Data as a percentage of total revenue increased to 10.3% for the quarter, up from 9.2% in the last quarter and almost doubling from 5.7% in the same quarter last year.  Globally, data revenue now contribute for 7.9% of Airtel’s total revenues, up 7.0% in the previous quarter.

– The global mobile data revenues increased by 105.2% to Rs 1,736 crore for the quarter, up from Rs 845.8 crore in the same quarter last year.

– During the quarter, the mobile business incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 1,352.9 crore, mostly of which was directed towards enabling data growth.

Also read:

Airtel Q3-FY14: Profit of Rs 610 Crore; Mobile Internet Revenues At Rs 1736 Crore Globally
Airtel Money’s India Userbase Down 7%, Amount Transacted Rs 1238 Crore; IMPS Deal
Changes At Airtel: Manoj Kohli To Step Down; Gopal Vittal Appointed As New MD