Bharti Airtel, India’s 2nd largest mobile operator, still doesn’t have 100 million Mobile Internet connections.
At the end of the quarter ending September 2018, the company reported 97.67 million Mobile Internet connections, up 2.8 million (around 3% from 94.78 million). This is the highest number of mobile Internet connections 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 2,660.3 billion MBs of data during the quarter, up 23.7% quarter on quarter from 2,150.65 billion MBs last quarter. That’s a growth of 509.6 billion MBs.
A few other points to note:
1. Only about 29% of Airtel’s connection base uses the Internet. At September 2017 end, this was 23%. 4G is now around 19.8% of total Airtel Mobile connections, and 67% of total Mobile Internet connections. In the previous quarter, 4G connections were 16.9% of total connections, and 61% of Mobile Internet connections.
2. The constitution of this base has changed: The company has added 7 million mobile 4G connections. In previous quarter, it added 9.1 million (3G+4G) broadband connections.
The 4G base has increased to 67% of Airtel’s data connections, compared to 43% a year ago.
3. Airtel’s 4G connection base increased by 7 million and its 2G+3G connection base declined by 4.57 million quarter on quarter. The number of connections not using the Internet decreased by 14.7 million.
2G+3G Mobile Internet connections account for 9.6% of total connections; it was 10.6% at the end of the last quarter. 2G+3G now accounts for 33% of total Mobile Internet connections for Airtel, down from around 39% last quarter.
5. For Airtel, data usage is now 9,221 MB per customer in September 2018, up 17.3% from 7,864 MB as compared to the previous quarter.
Corrigendum: We’ve updated the third chart to reflect the correct number. We apologise for the error.