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Consolidation on the horizon as smaller players lose ground to top trio

11 Jun 2014

India’s telecom industry revenue grew by 10.1% in the year to end-March 2014 compared to an expansion of 8.6% in the previous fiscal year, driven by improvements in voice pricing as the sector recovers from the cutthroat competition that saw prices reach an all-time low, the Economic Times writes, citing recent data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The top three cellcos, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular all saw improvements in their revenue market share to the detriment of the smaller players, with the exception of Norwegian-backed cellco Uninor, which also made gains. The lead trio represented a combined revenue market share of 70.4% nationwide, having gained ground in 19 (Idea Cellular), 16 (Bharti Airtel) and 15 (Vodafone India) circles, whilst struggling firms Tata TeleServices Ltd (TTSL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Reliance Communications (RCOM) lost revenue share in 21, 18 and 18 operating areas respectively. The strengthening of the market’s top players is expected to lead to much-needed consolidation in the market. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database at the end of March 2014 Bharti Airtel led the market with 22.7% of the nation’s subscribers, followed by Vodafone and Idea with 18.4% and 15.0%. RCOM (12.3%) and BSNL (10.5%) took fourth and fifth place, whilst Aircel and TTSL trailed behind, representing 7.8% and 7.0% of Indian mobile customers respectively. Also active in the market are Uninor (3.9%), Russian-backed Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL, 1.0%), Videocon (0.6%), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL, 0.4%) Loop Mobile (0.3%) and Quadrant Televentures (0.2%).

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