The Telecom sector in India has emerged as a major engine of economic and social development in India with fast-tracked reforms. The opening of the telecom industry coupled with the ubiquitous low-cost devices, affordable services and sharp reduction in tariff and unprecedented increase in teledensity has given rise to new opportunities in this sector. India has a total teledensity of 45%. While in metros it is 100%, in rural areas it is less than 20%. Rolling out network in the rural areas is costly because of low utilisation, which is around 5% or 7% of the network as houses and villages are scattered, resulting in a lot of wastage in the rural areas.
With 1 billion Plus people without internet access, it is imperative for our democracy to have an open and free internet where users are free to choose the services they want to access—instead of a telecom operator deciding what information they can access. Internet apps and services are expected to contribute 5% to India’s GDP by 2020. However, today, with above 1.3 billion people in India, mobile phone subscriptions in India have already reached the 1 billion mark, according to TRAI. Indian mobile economy is growing rapidly and will contribute approximately US$ 400 billion to India’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to a report prepared by GSMA in collaboration with BCG.
Smartphones are no longer looked at as luxury goods. India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market and this growth has been mainly driven by the cellular segment (mobile phones) with the strong adoption of data consumption on handheld devices. The growth in the number of mobile internet users in India and the mobile data consumption in 2016 would largely be influenced by the adoption of smartphone and rich media content. The number of total internet users in India will reach 462 million mark by June 2016, a 31% YoY growth during the first half of 2016. The percentage, however, is way below than the estimated 56% YoY growth in the number of mobile internet users in India during the same period.
Going ahead, Telecom operators need to develop good VAS applications such as money banking and other m-commerce applications, which will help the operators earn more commission. Besides, operators also need to develop good content like good games that can be downloaded by users. However, not only good content but also good marketing of that content is important. Besides, every customer using either a GSM or a CDMA technology should be able to download the content and hence not only the network but good and affordable handsets with vernacular instructions and icons need to be developed. With the government’s favourable regulation policies and 4G services hitting the market, rapid growth is expected in the Indian telecommunication sector. India, has the second-highest number of mobile phone accounts after China, and is also the third-biggest market (by volume) of smartphones sold, with sub- 6,000 handsets selling like hot cakes.
In summary, there has been a great impact in the consumption of mobile data and shown impressive growth in the number of mobile users in rural India. Mobile video content in Tier 2 and 3 cities in Indian is much higher than those from urban India. According to a report released from Cisco, Mobile video traffic in India will grow at 83% CAGR between 2015 and 2020. Video content will account for nearly 50% of total mobile data consumption in India by 2017. The report from IAMAI emphasizes on the fact that 52% of internet users from rural areas access the internet for the prime purpose of entertainment, followed by 39% for social media and 37% for communication. Interestingly, m-commerce fails completely to lure mobile users in rural areas. As rural India has been clocking more than 100% YoY growth in the number of mobile internet users and publishers are focusing more on creating video content in entertainment category nowadays, the total consumption of mobile data in the rural area would soon outpace urban India. As improved broadband capacity helps to overcome network bottlenecks, cloud-based offerings from telecom operators and ICT providers will continue to grow. To spur this phase of growth of the sector, the Government has already rolled out OFC (Optical Fibre Cable) connectivity which is available in all State Capitals, Districts, HQs and up to the Block Level and planned to connect all the 2,50,000 Gram panchayats in the country. This will be done by utilizing existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) and laying incremental fibre to connect to Gram Panchayats under the Digital India project.
Aircel is an Indian mobile network operator headquartered in Chennai, which offers voice and 2G, 3G and 4G data services. Maxis Communications holds a 74% stake in it and Sindya Securities and Investments holds the remaining 26%. Aircel was founded by C Sivasankaran and commenced operations in Tamil Nadu in 1999. It is the fifth largest mobile service provider in India with a subscriber base of above 85 million. Aircel is a market leader in Tamil Nadu and has considerable presence in Odisha, Assam and North-East circles, in addition to providing premium internet access solutions to facilitate data intensive live streaming applications.
Kaizad Heerjee, is the Chief Executive Officer of Aircel.
Bharti Airtel Limited, popularly known as Airtel is the largest telecom service provider in India. It is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 307 million customers across its operations at the end of November 2014.
Sunil Bharti Mittal is the Chairman of the company.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is an Indian state-owned telecommunications company headquartered in New Delhi. It is the largest provider of fixed telephony and the fourth-largest mobile telephony provider in India. The company also provides broadband services to the customers. BSNL is the only service provider, making focussed efforts and planned initiatives to bridge the rural-urban digital divide in the ICT sector. It took over the business of providing telecom services and network management from the erstwhile Central Government Departments of Telecom Services (DTS) and Telecom Operations (DTO). Whether it is inaccessible areas of Siachen glacier or the North-Eastern regions of the country, BSNL serves its customers with a wide bouquet of telecom services, namely Wireline, CDMA mobile, GSM mobile, Internet, Broadband, Carrier service, MPLS-VPN, VSAT, VoIP, IN Services, FTTH, etc. BSNL is the largest provider of fixed telephony and broadband services with more than 60% market share and is the sixth largest mobile telephony provider in India. However, in recent years the company’s revenues and market share have plummeted into heavy losses due to intense competition in the Indian telecommunications sector. BSNL is India’s oldest communication service provider and had a customer base of 93.29 million as of June 2015. It has footprints throughout India, except for Mumbai and New Delhi which are managed by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL).
Anupam Shrivastava is the Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL.
Idea Cellular (Idea) is an Indian mobile network operator based in Mumbai and is part of the Aditya Birla Group. Idea is a pan-India integrated GSM operator offering 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services. Idea is India’s third largest mobile operator by subscriber base. It has 182 million subscribers as of 31st December 2015. While Idea competed very closely with the then smaller operators like Reliance Communications, BSNL, Tata, Aircel in circa 2006-07, as of 31 Dec 2015, Idea has gone far ahead of the rest of these competitors clocking a Revenue Market Share of over 18.5% while the rest remain below 9%.
Kumar Mangalam Birla is the Chairman of the group.
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is a state-owned telecommunications service provider in the metro cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and is a Navratna company. The company had a monopoly in Mumbai and New Delhi until 1992, when the telecom sector was opened to other service providers. “Transparency makes us different” is the motto of the company. The Government of India currently holds 100% stake in the company. In recent years, MTNL has been losing revenue and market share heavily due immense competition in the Indian telecom sector.
MTNL provides fixed line Telephones and WLL services. It also provides mobile services on GSM and CDMA platforms. It also provides TriBand Internet services through dialup and DSL. MTNL also provides other services such as FTTH (with triple play includes voice, video and data), VPN, VOIP, and leased lines through BSNL and VSNL. As things stand today, one can receive a connection within hours of the request being submitted with MTNL.
N K Yadav is the Chairman & Managing Director of MTNL.
Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCOM) is an Indian broadband and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. Established in 2004, it is a subsidiary of the Reliance Group. After Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications is India’s second -largest telecom operator. It has established a pan-India, high-capacity, integrated (wireless and wireline), convergent (voice, data and video) digital network to offer services spanning the entire value chain. Reliance Communications owns and operates the next-generation IP-enabled connectivity infrastructure and is revolutionizing the way India communicates and networks, truly bringing a world class life style. It provides CDMA (CDMA2000, 1xRTT, EV-DO), GSM (Voice, 2G, 3G) mobile services, fixed line broadband and voice services, DTH depending upon the areas of operation. Reliance Communications is the fourth largest telecom operator in India with 109.90 million subscribers as of June 2015.
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani is the Chairman of the company.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL)
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a subsidiary of RIL is the first telecom operator to hold pan India Unified License providing broadband services to customers using WI-MAX as access technology. The company was formerly known as Infotel Broadband Services Limited and changed its name to Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited in January, 2013. It is an upcoming provider of mobile telephony, broadband services, and digital services in India. Jio will provide 4G services on a pan-India level using LTE technology. Jio owns spectrum in 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands in 10 and 6 circles, respectively, of the total 22 circles in the country, and also owns pan-India licensed 2,300 MHz spectrum. The spectrum is valid till 2035; RJIL has launched trial Wi-Fi hot spots across India and is in the process of entering agreements with various State and Local Authorities to provide Wi-Fi services. On 25 January 2016, the company launched its LYF smartphone series starting with Water 1, through its chain of electronic retail outlets, Reliance Retail. Three more handset models have been released so far, namely Water 2, Earth 1, and Flame 1.
Sanjay Mashruwala is the President at Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Vodafone India, Indian subsidiary of the Vodafone Group, is the third largest mobile network operator in India. Vodafone India started its operations in 1994 when its predecessor Hutchison Telecom acquired the cellular licence for Mumbai. Vodafone Group Plc is a British multinational telecommunications company headquartered in London, UK. It is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies and has expended its operation. Vodafone owns and operates networks in 26 countries and has partner networks in over 50 additional countries. Its Vodafone Global Enterprise division provides telecommunications and IT services to corporate clients in 150 countries. The company offers prepaid, post-paid, mobile portability, roaming with calling card facilities. Vodafone Global Enterprise is the business services division, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Vodafone Group. It was established in April 2007 to provide telecommunications and information technology services to large corporations. It offers integrated communication solutions in cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration. Its services include domestic and international voice and data, Machine to Machine services, mobile email, mobile broadband, managed services, mobile payment and mobile recording.
Sunil Sood is the Managing Director and CEO of Vodafone India.
Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) is an Indian broadband and telecommunications service provider based in Mumbai, Maharastra. It is the fastest-growing pan-India dual-technology telecom service provider. It spearheads the Tata Group’s presence in the telecom sector. Tata Teleservices is considered to be the pioneer of the CDMA 1x technology platform in India. It operates under the brand name Tata DoCoMo in various telecom circles of India. Tata Teleservices Limited also has a significant presence in the 2G GSM space; it offers multiple tariff plans in both Post-paid and Pre-Paid category. It also offers Mobile Value Added Services to subscribers. The company’s retail business has around 3,000 outlets nationally; comprising 600 TTSL owned stores and around 2,500 stores in the Franchisee format. Tata Teleservices Limited also has a significant presence in the GSM space, through its joint venture with NTT DOCOMO of Japan, with a subscriber base of over 67.
Srinath Narasimhan is the current Managing Director of Tata Teleservices.
Telenor, formerly known as Uninor is an Indian mobile network operator based in Gurgaon. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor Group, headquartered in Oslo, Norway. It owns 100% of the stake in the holding company; Telenor India Communications Pvt Ltd. Telenor services are commercially available in 6 circles, covering a population footprint of 600 million people. Telenor serves more than 30 million customers in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. With presence of circle offices in Hyderabad, Patna, Lucknow, Noida, Pune and Ahmedabad, the mobile service provider targets youth and other communities within the Indian mass market. In the last Spectrum auctions, Telenor secured fresh spectrum in 4 of its existing circles and in a new circle of Assam. Uninor re-branded itself as Telenor India in September 2015. The logotype, font and the visual expression however follows that of the Telenor Group.
Sharad Mehrotra is the Managing Director of Telenor.
Videocon Telecommunications Limited
Videocon Telecommunications Limited (VTL) is a GSM-based cellular operator in India based in Gurgaon (NCR Delhi). Videocon Telecommunications Limited, a subsidiary of Videocon industries offers GSM mobile services under the brand name Videocon. The services are already up and running in Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and will be soon present across the country. Videocon Telecommunications has charted out its strategy for the 4G rollout in the country. The company also offers mobile phones and 3G devices. It serves customers in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Mumbai, Gujarat, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh states in India. Videocon Telecom will rollout 4G services in UPE, UPW & Bihar Telecom circles. It plans to utilize the entire spectrum for 4G LTE FDD rollout on 1800 Mhz band in select cities and offer voice on overlay Network.
Arvind Bali is the Director & Chief Executive Officer of Videocon Telecommunication Limited.