Numbers on India's entire mobile segment

The number breakdown of mobile subscribers, value added services, handsets and mobile banking in India and some growth projections.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

Multiple reports came out this week that give us a close look at some numbers about the mobile market in India. I've broken the report into 4 main categories:

  1. Mobile Subscribers
  2. Handset Figures
  3. Value Added Services
  4. Mobile Banking

Mobile Subscribers

The Telecom Regulatory body of India (TRAI) releases monthly subscriber data and their May 2012 report has shown strong numbers for India's mobile growth story. According to TRAI:

  • Total mobile subscribers in May: 929.37 Million (April: 921.02 Million=8.35 Million new subscribtions)
  • Active mobile subscribers: 689.33 Million
  • Urban subscribers: 596.98 Million
  • Rural subscribers: 332.38 Million

The interesting development that TRAI has noticed is the growth in rural areas. It has been a belief for a while that the urban mobile market has saturated while the rural market is largely untapped. The TRAI's report backs this:

  • Urban wireless subscribers: 64.54% (previously 64.24%)
  • Rural wireless subscribers: 35.76% (previously 35.46%)

Not much has changed in the operator marketshare with Bharti Airtel leading the pack. The numbers:operators-breakdown

Putting some numbers to those percentages:

  • Airtel: 185,300,293
  • Reliance: 154,056,021
  • Idea: 115,965,604
  • Vodafone: 152,487,270
  • Tata: 81,537,487
  • BSNL: 97,713,129
  • MTNL: 5,558,498

The two state-owned telecom operators (MTNL and BSNL) have lost subscribers compared to their April numbers, while Airtel, Reliance, Idea, Vodafone and Tata saw growth. The change figures can be attributed to the Mobile Number Portability service offered in India. The TRAI report for May 2012 says there were a little over 50 Million requests for Mobile Number Portability across India, the highest being in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujrat regions.

Handset Figures

An independent organization called the CyberMedia Research came out with a report breaking down the mobile handset numbers in India. Their report gives us some insight into what one of the world's largest mobile market is opting for. This should be an eye-opener for the US tech press that often writes as if US=world. The numbers for 2012 Q1:

  • Total handset sales registered: 50.2 million
  • Featurephones: 47.5 Million units
  • Smartphones: 2.7 Million (that's just 5.3%)
  • Handsets <$90 (INR 5000): 90% of the marketshare (Unlike the US, India does not have a 2 year contractual sales cycle, you buy the phone you want & the carrier you want.)
  • 3G enabled handsets: 4.7 Million (interestingly a decline by 7.8% compared to 2011 Q4 which is a festive season, like the holiday season in the US)

The top three handset manufacturers for the quarter were:

  1. Nokia—23%
  2. Samsung—14.1%
  3. Micromax—5.8%

Gartner expects the Indian handset market to cross 230 Million handsets in 2012. And India amounts to 12% of global mobile sales.

Nokia vs Samsung

According to CyberMedia's report, Samsung has a lead over Nokia in smartphones while Nokia leads Samsung in the "90% market <$90 phones" segment.

The below-5000 INR market:

  • Nokia—21.80%
  • Samsung—10.70%

Smartphone handset market in India:

  • Samsung—40.4%
  • Nokia—25.5%

Nokia vs RIM

According to CyberMedia Research, RIM had 12.3% of the smartphones shipped in 2012 Q1. This means RIM had 12% of the 5% smartphone marketshare (total 2.7 Million). Now comparing this to the 22% of the featurephone market (47.5 Million), It doesn't look like RIM has shipped a lot phones compared to Symbian.

Value Added Services

Voice communication while the primary purpose of a mobile phone, the device computing devices are information and entertainment devices. Value Added Services (VAS) are a major business for the operators and in India, this market is expected to be worth a lot. The numbers:

  • Growth rate: 28%
  • 2012 expectation: $4.7 Billion
  • 2013 projection: $6.7 Billion

These numbers come from a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. They have broken down the various services offered by marketshare:


Mobile Banking

While I was comiling this article, Vikas SN writing for MediaNama has uncovered some numbers about mobile banking in the country. The numbers:

  • Mobile banking transactions: 3,346,743
  • Total amount: $52 Million (If my calculations are right, the amount is 28654.5 Lakhs INR)

Compiling this report has given me some interesting data to mull on. Quite interesting.

Update: According to a Feb 2012 report by Hindustan Times, India has a little over 20 Million 3G subscribers.

(@hotmailAlias pointed out an error I made, overal market leader in India for the quarter was Nokia.)

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