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Quarterly India Telecom Data For Dec 2008: Dialup ARPU Up; 11.1M DTH Connections; 4.5L Landlines Uninstalled

indiatelecomdataGrowth dropped, ARPUs fell, teledensity grew at a snail’s pace and landlines were disconnected. TRAI’s report on key performance indicators for the quarter ending December 2008 is out and reflect the massive upheaval the industry is undergoing due to the economic downturn.


The TRAI report records that India had a total of 12.85 million Internet (Dialup) connections at the end of December 2008. This base accelerated slightly to achieve a 5.01% growth from 4.97% recorded during September when there were 12.24 million connections. This does not include broadband subscribers.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has 6.38 million Internet connections against 5.94 million at the end of last quarter. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has retained second position with a base of nearly 1.95 million. Bharti Airtel Ltd is third with 0.93 million.

The minutes of use per connection per month dropped from 225 in June 2008 to 213.08 minutes in September quarter and crawled back up to 221.97 in December.


broadband-india-dec-2008Market share of PSUs BSNL and MTNL continue to decline – from 68.04% in September, it was 67.82% at the end of December 2008. Bharti Airtel, Sify and Reliance Communication are climbing up the ladder with 7.83%, 3.7% and 7.31% of the market share respectively. You Telecom has 1.56%, Data Infosys Ltd has  1.93% and Tata Communications has 3.05%.

As you can see in the table, Bharti Airtel has 10,06,688 Internet connections, Reliance has 9,40,227 connections and Sify has 4,75,213 connections.

The total revenue of ISPs in India stood at Rs 2076.07 crores from December 08 compared to Rs 1402.94 crores in September 2008 showing an increase of 30.09%.

Quality Of ISPs Deteriorates

dialup-india-december-2008TRAI has noted that between October 2008 – December 2008, various ISPs performed badly when it came to provision of telephones, repaiding faults by next working day, call completion rates and customer care services (Shifts).

Also, compared to the previous quarter, ISPs failed to meet TRAI’s QoS requirements on these parameters: blocked call rate (congestion), call drop rate, %age of connections with good voice quality and response time to the customer for assistance.

Dial Up: ARPU Up, MOU Up

– Average MOU on dialup connections was 214.23 minutes during day-time (between 8 a.m to 8 p.m) and 104.50 minutes during night (between 8 p.m to 8 a.m.) at the end of December 2008.

– Dial Up ARPU was Rs 221.97 at the end of December 2008, a rise of 4.17% from Rs 213.08 in September.

Broadband & DSL

The number of broadband connections grew by 12.64% to 5.52 million in December from 4.9 million users in September.

Twelve new ISPs joined the 72 broadband service providers in India during the December quarter.

DSL (Digital subscriber line, which has download speeds of 8 Mbps) continues to be the most popular access technology adopted by Indian ISPs with 4.711 million DSL connections, 0.485 million cable modems; 0.155 million Ethernet LAN-based connections; 0.078 million fiber connections; 0.072 million wireless, 0.019 million leased lines and 0.003 million who use other technologies.

TRAI also notes that there were a total of 24,203 Internet leased line connections at the end of December 2008 as compared to 24076 at the end of September 2008. Are these non-broadband lines?

Mobile Internet Enabled Handsets

TRAI has noted that there are 101.10 million wireless data (GPRS, HSDPA, etc) enabled handsets, up from 57.83 million in December 2007. Please note that the TRAI has listed them as wireless Internet subscribers, and we do not agree with this classification – merely having a mobile Internet enabled handset doesn’t guarantee usage of the Mobile Internet.

DTH Ramps Up

There are 6 private DTH providers in India aside from Doordarshan’s free DTH service. A total of 11.1 million DTH connections have been registered at the end of quarter ending 31st December 2008. Videocon has received a license and is still rolling out its services soon, according to DTH News.

The number of CAS set top boxes is now 7.67 lakh in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

Landlines Out

landlinesubsindiaAround 4.5 lakh landlines were uninstalled during the quarter ending December 2008. Though Bharti, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and HFCL Infotel added 2,17, 123 connections, BSNL caused a landslide by losing 6,21,809 connections. This does not bode well for a country with a teledensity of 33.28%.

The number of landlines in India has seen a steady drop to 37.9 million in December 08 from 39.42 last March.  The number of rural connections was 10.68 million, down from 11.64 million in March.

BSNL and MTNL have the lion’s share of the market with 77.84% and 9.32% while the other five private operators have 12.83% share. When you consider just the urban market, however, the share of private players rises to 17.74% and BSNL’s reduces to 69.28% while MTNL’s increases to 12.98%.

Rural India Unreachable

BSNL owns the rural wireline market with 99.66% of the market while private players share the 0.34% amongst themselves. Will this increase once Airtel and Tata Indicom complete their village drives to increase connectivity? Not likely. They will focus on mobile phones, which are more convenient and cheaper rather than push WLL phones and landlines.

vpt1Implementation of the government’s Village Public Telephone scheme had suffered a slowdown during the September quarter, dropping to 5.33 million from 5.61 million but managed to rise back to 5.39 million. The government had announced Village Public Telephones would be installed in every village in India. BSNL added 6065 VPTs but Airtel, MTNL, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and Shyam Telelink did not add a single VPT in the quarter. HFCL lost 17 VPTs during October to December 2008. Currently 91% of villages in India (as per a 2001 census stating India has 5,93,485 villages) have access to village public telephones.


pcoPCOs are being phased out and their numbers are dropping slowly – from 6.25 million in September 2008, there are now 5.98 million Public call offices in December 2008. Around 2.65 lakh PCOs have gone out of service in the three months. According to the TRAI report, 64.74% of PCOs in India are owned by private operators – Reliance leads with 2.1 lakh PCOs, Bharti has 1.83 lakh PCOs, HFCL Infotech has 30,105 in Punjab, Shyam Telelink in Rajasthan has 33,905 while Tata Teleservices has 1.52 lakh PCOs.

BSNL owns 31.62% while MTNL owns 3.64% o10f the market share.

Wireless In India

mobgrowth04Four years ago, there were 33.69 million wireless connections, including GSM, CDMA and WLL connections in India. Now, a similar number are being added per month. During October-November-December last year, 31.58 million connections were added, taking the total to 346.89 million at the end of last year. We now know that this number is 376.12 million for February 09. Read more on the latest cellular statistics on Medianama.

GSM Rules; Bharti Leads, ARPUs Crash

GSM continues to be the ruling technology in India with 74.44% of the market share and 258.23 million connections by December 2008, up from 233.68 million in the September quarter. CDMA, which was touted to be the “mass market technology” is still lagging with 88.66 million connections and 25.56% of the market at the end of December 2008. It has been growing strongly, from 68.37 million in March 2008 to 74.36 million by June and 81.03 million in September.

Bharti was the top mobile service provider in the country with a subscriber base of 85.65 million and market share of 24.69% in December 2008. Reliance was next with 61.34 million connections. Vodafone started its service in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh & Bihar while Tata rolled out in Assam, North East & Jammu & Kashmir and Idea Cellular launched in Bihar.

Blended ARPUs for CDMA and GSM connections in the country crashed along with the exchanges last year. GSM ARPU was Rs 261 in December 2007 and dropped to Rs 220 in 08, while CDMA ARPU fell from Rs 176 to Rs 111, a 37% decline.

Average Outgo Per Minute: TRAI has taken up the average outgo per outgoing minute (Rental revenue + Airtime revenue per outgoing minute) as an indicator of tariff levels in the industry. It saw a marginal decline from Rs. 0.79 in September 2008 to Rs. 0.78 in December quarter.


marketshare1– The share of prepaid connections remained almost constant at 93%.

-ARPU  was Rs 220

– Postpaid ARPU dropped by 4.2% from Rs. 584 in September 2008 to Rs. 559  in December 2008.

– Prepaid ARPU rose by 1.6% from Rs. 189 in September 2008 to Rs. 192 in December 2008.

– On average, Minutes of Use (MOU) per connection continued to decline. From 499 in September 08, it dropped marginally to 496 in December 2008. Outgoing MOUs declined by 0.39% and incoming by 0.72%. Bucking this trend, C category of circles recorded an increase in MOU per connection from 505 in September 2008 to 522 in December 2008.

– Postpaid MOU declined by 1.75% in MOUs per connection but Prepaid segment saw a 0.62% increase in the total MOU per subscriber. Prepaid outgoing MOUs have increased by 0.95% and incoming by 0.32%.

– The ratio of incoming to outgoing calls have also changed from 52:48 in September 2008 to 51:49 in December 2008.

– Indians continue to text away with a 16% increase in the average number of SMSs per connection from 25 in September 2008 to 29 in December 2008.


cdmamktshare1Number of CDMA connections excluding WLL (Fixed) and WLL (mobile) connections, grew by 9% to 71.48 million.

– MOU spiked from 332 minutes per connection per month for the quarter ending September 2008 to 370 minutes in December. Incoming MOU rose by 25.1% to 201 while outgoing calls reduced by 0.9% to 169.

– Share of prepaid connections was lower than GSM at 92.06% but was rising by 9.39%.

– Number of outgoing SMSs per month per connection is much lower than GSM at 13 and dropped by 8% compared to the last quarter.

– CDMA ARPU rose by 11.45% to Rs 370 from Rs 332 in the previous quarter.

Telecom Industry

The telecom service sector recorded a 5.95% rise in gross revenue from Rs 37,196 crores in Q2 (July to September 2008) to Rs 39,408 crores. The adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for the quarter was Rs 28,940 Crores, up by 5.79% from Rs 27,357 crores.

The two PSUs – MTNL and BSNL – recorded a decrease in AGR from Rs 8,544 crores to Rs 8,321 crores but their gross revenues rose from Rs 10,265 crores in September to Rs 10,542 Crores in December 2008. In comparison, the
gross revenue and AGR of private sector enterprises was Rs.28,866 crores and Rs.20, 619 crores respectively in December 2008 as against Rs. 26,931 crores and 18,813 crores in September 2008. The share of private sector in the total AGR increased from 68.77% to 71.25% in December 08.


Feb-09 Stats: 376.1M Mobile, 5.85M Broadband Connections; Data Cards & WiMax?
TRAI’s Broadband QoS Guidelines: Reveal Contention Ratio
Jan-09 Stats: 362.3M Mobile Subscribers; 5.65M Broadband
Q209: Quarterly India Broadband, Dialup & Mobile Numbers; 5.45M Broadband Subscribers

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