This report provides analyses of revenue and market forecasts as well as statistics of the India telecoms industry including market sizing, 5-year forecasts, market insights, key telecom trends, and 5G.
It also features the following:
Overall Telecommunications Market by Major Operators
Telco Operators Profile, Revenue and EBITDA Mix
Mobile Subscribers & Revenue Market Overview and Forecasts
IoT Market Overview
Broadband Subscribers & Revenue Market Overview and Forecasts
National Broadband Network Detailed Market Overview and Forecasts
Thematics / Opportunities relating to 5G, M&A and e-Commerce
Telecoms Infrastructure Review
Telco M&A Transaction Database
India Telecoms Report at a Glance
Globally, the telecommunications sector is proving to be a core and essential infrastructure service to national economies, with data infrastructure becoming critical in a connected world and will likely increasingly attract a new class of investors such as large infrastructure funds. The publisher expects the Indian telecommunications industry to remain steady thanks to the defensiveness nature of the industry, amid the political uncertainties and an uncertain economic outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Growing mobile phone penetration and emerging fixed broadband take-up among households will fuel future growth over the next five years.
According to our India Telecoms Report, the publisher forecasts that mobile subscriptions and fixed broadband subscribers will continue to fuel the telecoms sector growth in the 2019-25 period. More than 600m people became Internet users over the last in six years and another 600m more Internet users are expected to come online over the next six years by 2025.
Following the market expansion over the last 5 years, the publisher forecasts sustained revenue growth to 2025, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the diminishing impact of declining legacy voice and SMS revenue.
Mobile subscriptions are growing faster than mobile service revenue leading to ARPU decline after 3 years of intense competition with the market transitioning to 4G. With a market entry in late 2016, Jio jolted the mobile market from a standing start to becoming the largest mobile operator by the subscriber and third-largest by revenue in just three years.
Reliance Jio launch strategy was to offer three months of free data and free voice, and once that was up, kept the free voice offering permanent while charging only a low price for mobile data (INR50 for 1GB). This strategy is reminiscent to the classic Silicon Valley bet: spend money upfront to acquire customers, then make it up on volume because of a superior cost structure enabled by its 4G only network and the near-zero-marginal cost nature of technology. Jio's launch timing was perfect just at the time when competitors had sputtering 4G networks, it offered free Internet to a nation and demographics that could not afford it and increased its addressable market while its competitors were still relying on legacy voice and SMS revenue. Mobile network competitors quickly struggled to compete and a massive wave of consolidation ensued.
The publisher expects the overall telecoms market to grow again through to 2025 after a marked decline from 2017 and 2018 due to a mobile war.
The Capex from Indian operators is highly cyclical with mobile rollout leading to investments in line with the operators' top-line growth. Capex investments peaked between 2016 and 2018 while Jio built its 4G mobile network and is declining to lower level in 2019 and will increase again from 2020 through to 2025, as mobile operators invest in 5G, bolster their 4G coverage and increase capacity to fulfil strong data demand. The Capex to GDP ratio spiked between 2015 and 2017 and its started to slide from 2018 onwards.
Most operators lost revenue and EBITDA share to Jio in 2017 and 2018 and Bharti Airtel started to recover in 2019 with price rises across the market. Vodafone Idea lost both revenue and EBITDA share while merging and cost reduction measures started to flow in 2019 with improving EBITDA and cash flow.
The wave of market consolidation followed by Jio's market entry and the intense pricing competition should subside with a market of three large operators with high debt loads, all now focusing on a strategy of profitable growth in the mobile market.
Mobile Subscribers and Revenue
The mobile telecoms sector began consolidating two years ago, with twelve operators in 2017, India has now only four mobile network operators with nationwide across all 22 circles; Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and BSNL/MTNL.
Average annual mobile revenue growth was lower (3.2%) than mobile service subscriptions growth (4.6%) during the period 2014-2019 highlighting the intense price war since Jio's market putting pressure on ARPU compounded by a reduction of dual-SIM cards feature, driving the low growth in mobile subscriptions. The 4G migration leapfrogged by Jio and followed by Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel is driving the growth in higher ARPU for operators with the mobile market consolidation now largely complete.
According to our benchmark study of mobile data pricing, India has the lowest rate per GB at just a few cents per GB, while Australia and China had the biggest cost reduction per GB mostly due to increased data allowance in plans while Singapore remains expensive.
Broadband Subscribers - FTTH Push and Fixed Wireless
The fixed broadband market is experiencing slow-growth mostly driven by the loss of share by the incumbent BSNL, followed by Bharti Airtel, Atria Convergence Technologies (ATC), Reliance Jio (including Den Networks and Hathway Cable), Vodafone Idea via its subsidiary You Broadband, all are now investing in full-fibre networks.
However, more competition is expected in the fixed broadband market with Jio's entry with its residential fibre broadband services likely to disrupt incumbent BSNL but also should increase the residential broadband subscriptions significantly.
Fixed broadband penetration is forecasted to grow modestly as India's investments on full-fibre networks are slowly taking off with affordable packages and increased broadband household penetration growing.
Infrastructure funds, pension funds and government funds are assigning high valuation multiples to telecommunications infrastructure assets such as mobile towers, data centres, submarine cable and fibre infrastructure.
Investment funds are assigning high valuation multiples to telecommunications infrastructure assets such as mobile towers, data centres, submarine cable and fibre infrastructure. This report outlines some real market examples of how investors view and value these investments with real industry examples and EV/EBITDA comparatives and benchmarks.
The India Telecoms Report transactions database analysis highlights the hive of transactions in the India tower market, with the majority of telecommunications operators shifting assets to infrastructure entities and selling down to repay debts and further investments for capacity and coverage of their mobile networks. However, in the short to medium term, the telco sector is likely to experience some corporate activity with the fixed broadband market, now expected to come under pressure with JioFiber's launch and also broaden the scope of services beyond carriage to content and e-Commerce. The publisher projects strong earnings growth despite the huge debt pile and the looming required 5G and fibre to the home investments by the telecommunications operators. A new wave of M&A, network sharing deals over the next two to three 3 years will continue to consolidate around the large mobile operators, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.
The arrival of 4G moved the Internet off our desktops into our palms and pockets, 5G could transform the network from something we carry around to something taking us around either virtually (augmented reality or virtual reality) or in reality (autonomous vehicles), the 5G outcome and benefits beyond fast connectivity remain largely unknown in terms of business models, investments required and timeline.
Key Topics Covered
1 Key Statistics 1.1 India Population 1.2 India Households 1.3 India's GDP
2 COVID-19 Impact
3 Overall Telecommunications Market, 2014-2025 3.1 Market Overview 3.2 Historical Telecommunications Market Revenue, 2014-2019 3.3 Overall Telecommunications Market Forecast, 2018-2025 3.4 Telecommunications Market Capital Expenditure, 2014-2025 3.4.1 Historical Telecommunications Capex Spend, 2014-2019 3.4.2 Capex to Revenue Country Benchmark 3.4.3 Capex to GDP Benchmark 3.4.4 Telecommunications Capex Spend Forecast, 2019-2025
4 Telecommunications Operators Profile 4.1 Bharti Airtel Profile 4.1.1 Bharti Airtel Revenue and EBITDA Mix 4.2 Vodafone Idea Profile 4.2.1 Vodafone Idea Revenue and EBITDA Mix 4.1 Reliance Jio Profile 4.1.1 Jio Corporation Revenue and EBITDA Mix 4.2 BSNL Profile 4.2.1 BSNL & MTNL Revenue and Capex, 2014 - 2019 4.3 Other Players Profile 4.3.1 Tata communications 4.3.2 Global International Carriers 4.3.3 Other Telecoms Operators
5 Mobile Market 5.1 Mobile Subscribers Historical and Forecast, 2014-2025 5.1.1 Mobile Subscribers Historical, 2014-2019 5.1.2 Mobile Subscribers Market Share, 2014-2019 5.1.3 India Smartphone Share, 2019 5.1.4 India Mobile Subscribers Forecast, 2019-2025 5.2 Mobile Revenue Historical and Forecast, 2014-2025 5.2.1 Historical India Mobile Service Revenue, 2014-2019 5.2.2 Mobile Service Revenue Forecast, 2018-2025 5.2.3 Mobile Subscribers ARPU, 2014-2019 5.3 Spectrum Holdings 5.3.1 Spectrum Pricing and Regulation 5.3.2 5G Trials and 5G Auctions Results 5.3.3 Mobile Frequencies Portfolios Analysis 5.3.1 Spectrum Depth Benchmark by Country 5.4 Mobile Download Data and Pricing Trends 5.5 Mobile Speed Tests 5.5.1 Ookla Mobile Speed Tests 5.6 Internet of Things (IoT)
7 Telecommunications Infrastructure Investments 7.1 Fixed Infrastructure 7.1.1 Government Plans 7.1.2 Submarine Cables 7.2 Mobile Tower Infrastructure Landscape 7.2.1 Getting Ready for 5G 7.2.2 Tower Density Benchmark\ 7.3 Telco Infrastructure Comparative
8 Thematics / Opportunities 8.1 Going for Scale 8.2 Going for Scope 8.2.1 e-Commerce 8.2.2 Digital Payments 8.3 New Telecoms Operating Model 8.3.1 The Attraction of Infrastructure Multiples 8.4 5G versus Fixed 8.4.1 5G Overview 8.4.2 5G - Relative Capex Investments and Frequency Range 8.4.3 Fixed Broadband Networks Doing the Heavy Lifting Long Term