Airtel India has reported total 15.5 million 3G connections for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, registering a 23% increase from 12.54 million 3G connections in the previous quarter and more than doubling from 7.44 million 3G connections in the same quarter last year.
The total mobile Internet base however saw a minor 2% growth to 40.1 million connections for the quarter, from 39.3 million connections in the previous quarter. Year on year, the Mobile Internet connection base grew 43% from 28.04 million.
It’s worth noting that Airtel had started culling incidental mobile Internet users from the previous quarter, due to which its mobile Internet base had dropped to 39.3 million in Q1-FY15, from 58.1 million in Q4-FY14. Incidental data users are users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month. This followed a similar move from Idea Cellular in Q3-FY14 and following Airtel, even Reliance Communications started culling incidental mobile Internet users from the previous quarter.
The company’s mobile Internet base accounted for 18.9% of the Airtel’s total India connection base for the quarter, up slightly from 18.8% in the previous quarter.
Mobile Internet revenues for Airtel in India, grew by 73.8% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 1,805 crore for the quarter. Sequentially, the revenues grew 15.75% from Rs 1,559.4 crore.
The segment accounted for 14.5% of its total India revenues for the quarter, as compared to 12.4% in the previous quarter and 9.4% in the same quarter last year.
No 4G data: Airtel MD & CEO (India & South Asia) Gopal Vittal mentioned that its 4G rollout in 15 cities is now witnessing “stronger customer acceptance”, however the company hasn’t disclosed any updated data on how its 4G service is performing.
Few quarters ago, Airtel had claimed that its 4G connection base had crossed the 100,000 mark in the country. Following this, the telco had also launched 4G for smartphones in February this year, although the service is limited to recent iPhone models like iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
Airtel had also mentioned earlier 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.
Other Data related numbers
– Data usage per connection grew by 14% to 563 MB for the quarter, from 495 MB in the previous quarter and up 31% from 429 MB in the same quarter last year. Note that corresponding last quarter figures are not comparable, since Airtel has redefined who it classifies as a mobile Internet user.
– Data ARPU grew by 8% to Rs 150 for the quarter, from Rs 139 in the previous quarter and Rs 129 in the same quarter last year. As with data usage, the corresponding last quarter figures are not comparable, due to the mobile Internet user re-classification.
– Data realization per MB however dipped by 5% to 0.2667, from 0.2804 in the previous quarter and down 11% from 0.2999 in the same quarter last year.
– Data traffic for Airtel in India increased by 22% to 67.7 billion MBs during the quarter, from 55.61 billion MBs in the previous quarter.
– Airtel has deployed 3,491 new 3G sites during the quarter and currently had 38,055 active 3G sites by the end of the quarter.
– The consolidated mobile data revenues grew by 66.7% YoY to Rs 2,540 crore. This contributed for more than 67% of Airtel’s incremental revenues for the quarter.
– Airtel Africa’s data revenues grew by 56.8% YoY to $115 million for the quarter, driven by a 50.4% YoY increase in its data connection base to 26.4 million and a 24.5% YoY increase in the data usage per connection to 105 MB. Data revenues accounted for 10.1% of overall Africa revenues, as compared to 6.6% in the same quarter last year.