Indian telcos could earn $8 billion from data

02 September 2014 3 min. read
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Research conducted by A.T. Kearney and Google shows that in the coming three years, the number of Indian smartphone users will multiply by six, to 385 million people, and the mobile phone data consumption will triple. In their research, A.T. Kearney and Google identified the four best ways to capitalize the explosion in mobile internet users. Indian telcos that offer mobile data-based internet services could generate an additional aggregate turnover of $8 billion.

According to research conducted by consulting firm A.T. Kearney and Google, the number of smartphone users in India will multiply by six times to 385 million people by 2017, and the number of users who conduct transactions online will have grown to 160 million. In the research, called ‘Creating the Next Multibillion Dollar Online Opportunities in Telecoms’, A.T. Kearney and Google have identified the best opportunities for telephone companies (telcos) India to capitalize on the explosion of mobile internet users in the country.

Digital technology

The research shows that digital technology will be the next big driver for telcos that will not only boost revenues but also profitability. In the next three years, mobile phone data consumption will triple and consumers will buy five times more content by 2017. As a result, Indian telcos that offer data-based internet services for mobile devices could generate an additional aggregate turnover of $8 billion, which is 21.6% of the current overall turnover for Indian telcos, by FY17.

Expected volumes, evolution from 2015-17

According to A.T. Kearney and Google, revenues of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 of Indian telcos are expected to reach $35 billion, rising from $25 billion in FY2014. This growth is mainly driven by the non-voice share that is expected to grow at 29%. “Indian telcos are poised to leapfrog directly into a digital play since the shift from data to digital will happen much faster in India, as more digital content and services are adopted by users. Within three years, Indian telcos revenue is expected to reach $35 billion, with data revenues growing at over 70 per cent annually till then, and new digital VAS streams emerging and growing exponentially,” says Nikolai Dobberstein, Partner at A.T. Kearney.

Indian Telecom industry revenue growth

4 areas of opportunity

According to Rajan Anandan, Google India Vice-President and MD for Sales and Operations, Indian telcos have great opportunity to proactively create additional value by aligning their digital strategy with consumer needs. In the A.T. Kearney-Google report, four areas of opportunity to enhance profitability and to save costs are defined as:

  • E-store and e-care. Significant push and facelift in offerings and user experience
  • Media content and services. Innovative platforms to drive data and paid content
  • Mobile business applications for SMEs. Four to five key service apps with a concerted effort to encourage consumers to use data, devices, and apps
  • M-payments*. Promotion of m-wallet, enablement of carrier billing

Revenue by area

The study finds that, because India has already embraced the internet, the country could quickly adjust to the new focus on digital technology. “There is enough evidence to show that telcos can go down that journey. We have seen that from operators large & small. The bigger challenge is not the technology, it is the change management. It is about changing the distribution structure & consolidating that,” says Neeraj Gupta, Industry Director Tech and Telecom at Google India.

* M-payments enable e-stores, paid apps and content transactions.