In India, Rs. 50 per GB of 4G data without any discount is possible with a viable business case for a telecom operator with 17-18% market share in India by the year 2020, as compared to Rs. 228 per GB of 4G data in 2016, Analysys Mason on Tuesday said during a webinar by ET.
The firm stated that a telco with 17-18% market share would be in a position to offer 1GB 4G data at Rs. 30-40 by 2020.
The telecom consulting firm’s study further said that LTE usage per user would reach 6-7GB per month if 1GB data is available at Rs. 50 in the country. It added that 3G data usage would also rise to around 2GB data per user per month.
The consulting firm’s proprietary study said that telecom operators would require a significant amount of spectrum, including sub-GHz spectrum that will help them offer extensive coverage and support traffic in case of Rs 50 per GB of 4G data. It added that Indian telecom industry will feature a few big telecom operators by 2020 that will have to keep an annual capex of Rs 65-75 billion and opex of Rs 200-250 billion to support the data growth.
It added that 4G entrant Reliance Jio’s move to bring a VoLTE feature phone at Rs 500 would further catalyse the market by enabling 80% of India’s population to use 4G data by 2020. The introduction of a 4G VoLTE feature phone, which is likely in August this year, is most liable to intensify competition in the market and will result in mass migration of 2G to 4G services, ultimately leading to a decline in low-end voice subscribers of incumbent telcos like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
The Indian telecom market is currently seeing an intense drive of competition, driven by Reliance Jio’s entry. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) is currently in the process of acquiring Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (SSTL) and is also merging wireless business with smaller GSM telco Aircel.
Furthermore, Bharti Airtel is in the process of obtaining Telenor’s India operations and Tikona Digital’s 4G spectrum and business in the country. Media reports recently said that Airtel’s parent company Bharti Enterprise is exploring a mega alliance with the Tata Sons for the latter’s Tata Teleservices, Tata Sky and Tata Communications.
In addition, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are also on track to merge their operations to create India’s largest telecom operator by subscribers and revenues.