Airtel Airtel India has reported a mobile Internet base of 39.32 million connections at the end of the quarter ended 30th June 2014 (Q1-FY15), following a reclassification of a Mobile Internet user as one that has used at least 1 MB over GPRS/3G in the last 30 days. This follows a similar move by Idea Cellular last quarter. Airtel’s Mobile Internet base has grown 10% quarter on quarter from 35.6 million (reclassified) last quarter. Year on year, the Mobile Internet connection base grew 52% from 25.87 million.

3G connections increased to 12.53 million, up 22% quarter on quarter from 10.22 million, and doubling year on year from 6.23 million. This is still not as fast as Airtel would have liked.

Mobile Internet revenues for Airtel in India, increased year on year by 68.2% to at Rs 1,559.4 crore, accounting for 12.4% of its total India revenues for the quarter.

Growing fast, but not as fast as it appeared

This is an important shift, and provides context that perhaps the growth in Mobile Internet isn’t as stark as it had appeared: Prior to the reclassification, Airtel had reported 58.08 million Mobile Internet customers last quarter, which means that as many as 22.48 million mobile Internet connections, last quarter, had used less than 1 MB.

Mobile Internet Data

Data usage per connection grew by 7% to 495 MB for the quarter, up from 464 MB in the previous quarter and up 26% from 392 MB in the same quarter last year. Note that previous figures are not comparable, since Airtel has redefined who it classifies as a mobile Internet customer.

Strangely enough, the reclassification means that Airtel has reported a data ARPU of Rs 139 for the quarter, up 4% from Rs 133 in the previous quarter and up 8% from Rs 128 in the same quarter last year.

Other Data Related Numbers 

– The data traffic for Airtel in India increased by 17% to 55.61 billion MBs during the quarter, up from 47.65 billion MBs in the previous quarter.
– The data realisation per MB declined by 2% to Rs 0.28 for the quarter, down from Rs 0.286 in the previous quarter, and 14% from 0.326 year on year.
– Airtel has deployed 3,263 new 3G sites during the quarter and currently had 34,564 active 3G sites by the end of the quarter.
Data as a percentage of total revenue increased to 12.4% for the quarter, up from 11.5% in the last quarter and a significant increase from 8.2% in the same quarter last year.

No 4G Data

There’s no updated data on 4G from Airtel. A couple of quarters ago, Airtel had claimed to have crossed the 100,000 mark in the country.  Note that Airtel is currently the only telco offering 4G services in India. It offers this service through dongles and routers in four Indian cities. It had launched 4G for smartphones in February this year, although the service is limited to iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C users in Bangalore at the moment.

This quarter, it expanded its 4G footprint to include Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and Kolkata. Airtel had earlier mentioned that it is looking to use the 1800MHz spectrum it acquired in the February 2014 2G auctions, to roll out high speed 4G networks using FD-LTE technology in the 1800 MHz band for a pan-India 4G rollout.

Last quarter: Airtel reports 10.98M 3G & 58.08M data connections for Q4-FY14

Other telco results:

Idea Cellular Q1-FY15
Idea Cellular: Viber won’t cannibalise voice services in India
Idea’s mobile data base up 10.5% QoQ to 27.9M
Vodafone India Q1-FY15
Vodafone India reports 0.3M active M-Pesa users
Vodafone India reaches 10M 3G connections
Uninor H1-2014
Uninor’s Internet revenues grew by 42%; Internet users up 32%