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McClatchy-Tribune  08/26/2014 4:05 AM ET
Airtel, Vodafone, Idea generate 70% of total revenue in June quarter [Mint, New Delhi :: ]

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Aug. 26--NEW DELHI -- Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd, India's top three telecom operators, accounted for more than 70% of the revenue generated in the quarter ended 30 June by the sector, leaving less than 30% for the remaining seven operators, according to data compiled by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

The top three had a combined subscriber market share of 56.5% at the end of the quarter.

The numbers have most experts questioning the viability of the smaller telcos.

"The combined RMS (revenue market share) of the top three telcos increased to 71.3%," Rajiv Sharma, an analyst with HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Pvt. Ltd, wrote in a report on Monday.

The HSBC note pointed out that other telcos that gained RMS were Tata Teleservices Ltd, followed by Aircel Ltd and Uninor. State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) combined posted the sharpest decline in RMS, followed by Reliance Communications Ltd. Vodafone also saw a marginal drop in RMS over the preceding March quarter.

Reliance Communications, which had 11.9% subscriber market share at th end of the June quarter, had only 6.7% revenue market share, placing it fifth in the pecking order after Tata Teleservices, which has a 7.1% revenue market share and a 6.9% subscriber market share.

Bharti ended the quarter with 22.8% subscriber market share and 31.1% revenue market share. Vodafone had 18.5% subscriber market share and 23.2% revenue market share. Idea had 15.2% subscriber market share and 17.1% revenue market share, HSBC's calculations showed. Aircel ended the quarter at with a subscriber market share of 8% and a revenue market share of 5.6% while the BSNL-MTNL combine ended the quarter subscriber market share of 10.3% and revenue market share of 5.5%.

Analysts questioning the future viability of the smaller companies.

"Going forward, the business will incrementally be more about data revenues, making the business case for new players increasingly unviable. Their balance sheet prevents them to invest in data and data capabilities," a Mumbai based telecom analyst with a multinational brokerage firm said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. "Going ahead, some of the smaller telcos might also find it difficult to sell, once consolidation happens."


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