Market Research Logo

Mobile Communications - Market Overview, Technologies and Forecasts - India

India - Mobile Communications - Market Overview, Technologies and Forecasts

From a humble start, growth in India's mobile sector rapidly picked up pace and developed a sustained momentum, aided by higher subscriber volumes, lower tariffs and falling handset prices. Home to a group of global operators working with local companies, had what seemed to be a booming mobile market at the start of 2012. However, growth in India's huge mobile market effectively stalled during 2012 and the market was looking very subdued coming into 2013. Mobile operators had added 370 million new subscribers to their networks in 2010/2011, an average of 15 million per month over that two year period, to bring the total number of subscribers to around 900 million by the start of 2012. The year heralded the start of a somewhat erratic period in the development of the subscriber base that saw 2012 end with just 865 million subscribers. The drop in subscriber numbers was a combination of falling customer demand and the effect of operators cleaning out' their data bases.

While ARPU steadily declined as competing operators offer cheaper tariffs the usage levels remained reasonably high thus slowing the decline in revenues. There had also been a major push in recent years to take mobile services into the poorer and rural areas of the country, a move that inevitably weighed down on ARPU. In 2010 the long-awaited 3G auctions finally took place. In 2010/2011 the 3G networks were rolled out and services delivered to customers. But things went sour for the mobile industry in particular when the unfolding scandal over the awarding of 2G licences in 2008 took centre stage at the beginning of 2012. The Supreme Court directed that 122 licences awarded four years earlier be cancelled, throwing the sector into chaos. Further court decisions and the subsequent responses of the regulators were central to the eventual outcome. The cancelled licences were successfully re-auctioned after three attempts. The market was starting to gain some balance once more as the various disputes were resolved or moved closer to resolution.

This report looks at the mobile market in India and presents a set of relevant market statistics. It also examines the technology platforms already in place and those being put in place. And finally the report looks at the range of mobile voice and data services in India.

Key developments:

the mobile subscriber base contracted by 3% in 2012 and growth was only marginal in 2013;
despite this, with mobile penetration of 72%, there was room for further growth;
mobile ARPUs appeared to be stabilising and even growing by 2012/2013 as operators cleared out their subscriber databases and data services became more significant;
a number of operators had exited the market following the so-called 2G scandal and further fall-out was anticipated;
the re-auction of 2G licences took place in three steps (November 2012, March 2013, February 2014);
the initial outcome of the re-auction process was judged to be a major failure for the government but the third auction in February 2014 was a resounding success;
India's 3G market was growing steadily, but certainly not as fast as expected;
the regulator and the operators continued to argue over 3G roaming rights until a ruling by the TDSAT in early 2014 resolved the issue in favour of the operators;
India overhauled Japan to become the world's third largest smartphone market;
Blackberry set up a limited monitoring arrangement to meet the security demands of the government;
Vodafone India launched its mobile wallet service M-Pesa in conjunction with ICICI Bank
In the meantime the Airtel Money service has been a runaway success.

Companies covered in this report include:

Aircel/Dishnet, Bharti Airtel, Loop Mobile (BPL Mobile), Quadrant (HFCL), Idea/Spice, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar, Telewings (Uninor), Videocon, S Tel, Batelco, Bharti Telenet, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Sistema (Shyam Telelink), Swan Telecom, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Data Access, Hughes Telecom, Videocon, SingTel.

1. Synopsis
2. Mobile communications
2.1 Overview of India's mobile market
2.2 Improved regulatory environment - 2014
2.3 Dramatic drop in mobile subscribers - 2012
2.4 Mobile statistics
2.5 Mobile handset / smartphone / tablet market
2.6 Mobile market - geographic segments
2.7 Forecasts - Mobile services 2015; 2020
2.8 Development issues
2.8.1 Reporting of revenue
2.8.2 Tariffs for wireless broadband
2.8.3 Spectrum allocations and spectrum auctions
2.8.4 Rural expansion
2.9 Regulatory issues
2.9.1 Background
2.9.2 Regulatory developments in 2013
2.9.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
2.9.4 Regulatory developments in 2012
2.10 2G corruption scandal
2.10.1 Allegations
2.10.2 Cancelled licences
2.10.3 Charges
2.10.4 Court decision, appeal and aftermath
2.11 Preparation for re-auctioning of 2G spectrum
2.12 Re-auctioning of 2G spectrum
3. Mobile technologies
3.1 Overview of mobile technologies used in India
3.2 GSM
3.3 CDMA
3.3.1 Overview
3.3.2 CDMA auction March 2013
3.4 Third Generation (3G) mobile
3.4.1 Background
3.4.2 Licensing process
3.4.3 Spectrum allocation
3.4.4 Auction procedure
3.4.5 Auction
3.4.6 BSNL and MTNL
3.4.7 Start of the roll-outs
3.4.8 Developments
3.4.9 3G roaming dispute
3.5 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
3.5.1 Overview
3.5.2 Reliance Jio Infocomm
3.5.3 Bharti Airtel
3.6 Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE)
4. Mobile voice services
4.1 Prepaid
5. Mobile data services
5.1 Market overview
5.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
5.3 i-mode
5.4 BlackBerry
5.5 Mobile TV
5.6 Mobile content
5.6.1 m-Health
5.6.2 M-banking and money transfer
6. Notes on forecasting
7. Related reports
Table 1 Overview of India's mobile market 2011 - 2014
Table 2 Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2014
Table 3 Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) 2002 - 2014
Table 4 GSM mobile subscribers and annual change 1997 - 2014
Table 5 Mobile penetration in urban and rural areas 2007; 2009 - 2014
Table 6 Mobile services revenue 1996 - 2013
Table 7 Mobile ARPU by technology, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2012
Table 8 Mobile ARPU by technology, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2013
Table 9 Mobile ARPU (GSM and CDMA) 2005 - 2013
Table 10 Forecast mobile subscribers 2015; 2020
Table 11 GSM mobile subscribers by region/circle 2012 2014
Table 12 GSM ARPU 2003 - 2013
Table 13 GSM ARPU by region/circle, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2013
Table 14 GSM mobile operators, subscribers and market share 2013
Table 15 GSM ARPU by operator grouping, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2012
Table 16 GSM ARPU by operator grouping, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2013
Table 17 CDMA mobile operators, subscribers and market share 2013
Table 18 CDMA ARPU 2003 - 2013
Table 19 CDMA ARPU by region/circle, prepaid/postpaid/blended 2013
Table 20 3G auction (2010): Number of licences and total fees paid by operators
Table 21 Prepaid mobile subscribers: share of total market 2003 - 2013
Table 22 SMS traffic by technology and subscriber 2011 - 2013
Chart 1 - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2006 - 2014
Chart 2 - Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) - 2002-2014
Chart 3 - GSM mobile subscribers and annual change - 2000-2014
Chart 4 - Mobile penetration urban and rural - 2007; 2009-2014
Chart 5 - Mobile ARPU (GSM and CDMA) - 2005-2013
Chart 6 GSM mobile operator market share 2013
Chart 7 CDMA mobile operator market share 2013
Exhibit 1 Operators / licences affected by 2G licensing process cancellation February 2012
Exhibit 2 CDMA 3G commercial deployment in India
Exhibit 3 3G auction results: Service area licences by operator May 2010

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report