There is no doubt that Indian mobile industry has gone through a period of low, since the 2G scams broke out. However, it seems one operator has managed to pull it through and maintain an impressive growth.
The talk is about Bharti Airtel, as per the analyst firm Wireless Intelligence, the leading mobile operator in the country has overtaken Spanish major Telefonica to become the 4 largest mobile operator in the world. Going by the figures published by the research agency, Airtel’s subscriber base went past 250 million by the Q2 of 2012 registering a growth rate of 13% year on year.
The list is led by three Chinese operators with China Mobile enjoying the top position with a subscriber base close to 683 million subscribers. Though Airtel managed to improve its subscriber base, it is still lagging in terms of revenue behind the market leaders reflecting the low cost –low margin markets where Airtel has its presence.
They have operations in Indian and African market, both having low ARPU figures relatively. Airtel has revenue of $3.04 billion as of Q2, 2012 which is quite less compared to 4 other operators in the top 5. It may be recalled that Airtel got into 5th position among the top mobile operators by virtue of their acquisition of Zain group across 15 African countries.
The research report also listed three other Indian operators in the top 20 mobile operators with Reliance coming in 8th position having a subscriber base close to 155 million, followed by Idea Cellular in 14th position with 117 million subscribers and then BSNL in the 20th position with 98 million mobile subscribers.