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Q1 India Telecom Data: 44.87M Wireless Added, ARPUs Tank, 13.09M DTH Connections


The January to March 2009 quarter saw the sector looking up compared to previous quarters in fiscal 09. Landlines made a slight turnaround from their negative growth and teledensity rose 41% to 36.98%. ARPUs continue to dip in India while the number of connections, landline, WLL and mobile, grew by 11.68% and the Internet user base grew by 5.3%.

Segmentwise Details:


  • 7 DTH license holders – Doordarshan, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct TV, Bharti Telemedia, Reliance Big TV and the latest entrant Bharat Business Channel by Videocon
  • 13.09 million subscribers.

Key Developments During The Quarter

  • Gross revenue from the telecom sector grew by a meagure 2.63% to Rs.40,444.66 crores from the previous quarter.
  • Videocon’s DTH venture is called Bharat Business Channel. It is the sixth DTH operator to be granted a license.
  • Vodafone rolled out its service in Jammu & Kashmir
  • Aircel in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh(E) & (W).
  • Reliance Communications launched its GSM services in Delhi, Mumbai,
    Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu including
    Chennai, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh(E) & (W),Rajasthan and
    Jammu & Kashmir
  • MTS (Sistema Shyam) launched in Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai

This time around, we decided to present the quarterly telecom statistics differently – in an easy-to-digest, bulletted format. Tell us what you think of it.

The TRAI report can be downloaded from here.

Wireless (Mobile + WLL)

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  • 391.76 million connections, of which
  • 297.26 million are GSM (75.88% of the total userbase)
  • 94.5 million are CDMA connections
  • 16.56 million rural connections were added during the quarter
  • Around 28% of the total wireless subscribers are now in rural India


  • All India blended ARPU per month fell by 6.5% from Q3 to Rs. 205
  • Postpaid ARPU also dropped to Rs. 543
  • Prepaid ARPU was Rs. 181
  • Minutes of use dropped to 484 minutes
  • Outgoing MOUs declined by 2.39% and Incoming by 2.47%
  • Outgoing SMSs per subscriber was 30, continues to grow
  • Against the overall trend of decline in MOUs, Circle category “C” has recorded an increase in MOU per subscriber from 522 in December 2008 to 525 in March 2009.
  • Average outgo per outgoing minute (Rental revenue + Airtime revenue per outgoing minute) showed a marginal decline from Rs. 0.78 in December 2008 to Rs. 0.76 in March 2009
  • Revenue from subscribers was Rs. 16,773 crores
  • Growth rate during the quarter for GSM operators was 3.7%

Airtel is the largest GSM operator with 93.92 million connections, followed by Vodafone with 68.77 million, BSNL’s 46.71 million and Idea Cellular with 38.89 million.


  • ARPU fell to Rs. 99
  • Postpaid ARPU is Rs 381
  • Prepaid ARPU is Rs. 77
  • Minutes of Use per user per month is 357
  • Outgoing MOU declined to 164
  • Incoming MOU fell to 192
  • Average outgo per outgoing minute (Rental revenue + Airtime revenue per outgoing minute) showed a marginal decline from Rs. 0.61 to Rs. 0.57
  • RCOM with 52.65 million is the largest CDMA operator
  • Tata Indicom 35.12 million
  • BSNL 5.44 million

Landlines Grow, VPTs & PCOs

After a whole year of negative growth in landlines (they were being disconnected), the January-March quarter of 2009 saw a rebound, if minor, in landline additions. Tata/Hughes added the most at 5.75 million. Rural landline connections reduced to 10.58 million, a 10% drop year on year.

  • 66,457 landlines phones added
  • Total of 37.96 million landlines
  • BSNL and MTNL have the majority of market share with 77.30% and 9.41% respectively
  • the other 5 operators share the rest of the pie (13.29%)
  • BSNL still holds 99.65% of the rural landline market

After falling hard in Q2, the growth of village public telephones has picked up again over the past 2 quarters to reach approximately the same number of VPTs present in March 2008.

  • 21,091 VPTs added
  • 5.61 lakh Village Public Telephones in total
  • 6% of villages in India yet to be covered by the VPT scheme
  • 2,21, 831 PCOs added
  • 6.2 million public call offices
  • 66.26% of the PCOs are owned by private operators.

Internet/ Dialup

Total revenue from the ISPs fell by 3.62% to Rs.2000.97 crores. IPTV contributed Rs. 1.14 crores to revenues.

  • 13.54 million Internet subscribers
  • Minutes of Use per subscriber per month grew by 5.76% to 226.58 (day time)
  • In non-peak hours, this became 101 minutes
  • APRU grew 6.53% to Rs. 236.47
  • Growth in Internet subscribers during the quarter was 5.3%, compared to 5.01% in the previous quarter
  • 167 ISPs
  • BSNL has 7.26 million Internet subscribers (53.61% market share)
  • MTNL has 2.12 million
  • Airtel has 1.08 million


  • 6.22 million broadband connections. Broadband is classified as Internet speeds of 256 Kbps and above by the telecom regulator.
  • 12.68% growth recorded from last quarter
  • 5.36 million are DSL based; 0.473 cable modem; 0.24 Ethernet LAN; 42,203 Fibre; 721836 Wireless customers; Leased Line 20,172 and 1524 Others.


  • 117.82 million mobile connections that were capable  of using wireless data (GPRS).

Note: this does not necessarily mean they do use it, so it cannot be used as a measure of the number of GPRS users in India. This data would be very useful, especially to all the mobile marketing & VAS firms here.

Broadcasters & TV Channels

  • 19 broadcasters in the country &
  • 130 pay channels in total being broadcast to homes via cable TV, CAS, DTH or IPTV.
  • Number of free-to-air channels being carried by cable networks is 168.
  • 770,053 set top boxe1s are in the CAS notified areas of Delhi,
    Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Interestingly,

While digital carriers – such as DTH and IPTV – offer a maximum of 233 channels, the limit for those still distributing in analogue – cable TV, for example – is 100 channels.

Community Radio Stations & FM

  • 7 new licenses were issued for setting up community radio stations.
  • 60 already hold a license but only 41 are currently operational.
  • No new FM stations were added during the quarter
  • 245 private FM stations


Quarterly India Telecom Data For Dec 2008: Dialup ARPU Up; 11.1M DTH Connections; 4.5L Landlines Uninstalled
TRAI Considers Bringing DTH Portability; Issues & Implications

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