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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Telecom sector:-Industry outlook/prospects/competition/high and low prices/beneficiaries/listed stocks/recommendation/psu operators/views/potential

Rising disposable income in the hands of consumers living in semi-urban and rural areas is expected to boost domestic consumerism. And the telecom sector is likely to be one of the main beneficiaries of the higher traction in these regions. Most of the leading wireless operators are striving to increase their presence in towns and rural India, which are categorised under B and C telecom circles. The latest subscriber data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) throws light on which operators are expanding their user base faster in these circles. According to the data, which measures the number of net subscriber additions, Reliance Communications accounts for 19% of the total net additions in B and C circles, the highest share among peers. The company promoted by the ADAG group also dominates the net user additions in A, B, and C circles with a market share of 23%.

Bharti Airtel (15% share) and Vodafone (13%) are next in the list of market shares of net user additions for the B and C circles. Among the established players, Aircel and Tata group telecom companies have relatively lower penetration in these regions.

The data also reveals that new entrant Uninor grabbed a 9% share of net additions in the semiurban and rural regions, much ahead of other new incumbents such as Sistema Shyam and Videocon, each of which has a share of 2%.

One argument against having a higher rural and semi-urban telecom penetration is the lower propensity of subscribers in these regions to spend on telecom services. Due to this, telecom operators earn a much lower average per user revenue in these areas thereby impacting overall profitability.

This is, however, likely to change in the next few years and the change will be driven by availability of low-cost smartphones that can offer functionality beyond basic voice and text services. The development of software applications targeted at the needs of farmers and other specific user groups will enable telecom players to run profitable operations even in the rural areas.

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