Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator, still doesn’t have 100 million Mobile Internet connections.
At the end of the quarter ending March 2018, the company reported 86.1 million Mobile Internet connections, up 15.2 million (around 21.5% from 70.8 million). This is the highest number of mobile Internet connections that Airtel has ever had, but it is still substantially lower than those of Reliance Jio.
Data volume grew for Airtel during the quarter, along with the increase in connections. Airtel users consumed 1,539.7 billion MBs of data during the quarter, up 39.2% quarter on quarter from 1,105.8 billion MBs last quarter. That’s a growth of 433.9 billion MBs.
A few other points to note:
1. Only about 28% of Airtel’s connection base uses the Internet. At March 2017 end, this was 21%. Broadband is now around 25% of total Airtel Mobile connections, and 89% of total Mobile Internet connections. In the previous quarter, Broadband connections were 21% of total connections, and 88% of Mobile Internet connections.
2. The constitution of this base has changed: The company has added 14.4 million mobile broadband (3G+4G) connections. In previous quarter, it added 6.9 million broadband connections.
The broadband base has increased to 89% of Airtel’s data connections, compared to 78% in Q4-FY18.
3. Airtel’s broadband connection base increased by 14.4 million and its 2G connection base grew by 0.8 million quarter on quarter. The number of connections not using the Internet decreased by 1.2 million.
2G Mobile Internet connections account for 3% of total Internet connections; it was 3.7% at the end of the last quarter. 2G now accounts for 11% of total Mobile Internet connections for Airtel, down from around 12% last quarter.
5. For Airtel, data usage is now 6,585 MB per customer in March 2018, up 23% from 5,349 MB as compared to previous quarter.