After Africa, Bharti bigger than Vodafone & Reliance combined, Aircel fastest growing

Aircel emerged as the fastest growing telecom operator in the Country during the last financial year (2010-11), even as Bharti (including Africa) increased its lead over all others to become more than twice as big as any other operator in India.

Smaller operator Aircel, which grew its revenues by 44.1% during the year, narrowly edged out India’s largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel, which could manage only 42.1% growth, according to Voice & Data Magazine’s annual survey of the telecom market.

Bharti’s sales revenues swelled to an unprecedented Rs 59,500 crore during the year, thanks to the Zain acquisition in Africa. With its African operations, Bharti was bigger than the combined size of Vodafone and Reliance Communications, or Vodafone and BSNL.

Bharti accounted for an estimated 25% of the Indian service revenues, despite possessing only 19% of the wireless subscribers.

At number two was the State-owned BSNL, which continued to see its revenues decline, despite an inrease in subscribers. BSNL saw sales revenues shrink by 10% to just Rs 28,877 crore. As a result, at number two, BSNL was not even half the size of the new, enlarged Bharti Airtel.

Following at number three — and the third fastest growing telecom operator — was Vodafone. At around Rs 27,300 crore, it could lay claim to around 16% of India’s total telecom service market. Not only was Vodafone placed third and the third-fastest growing operator; it grew 16% in revenue to take up 16% of the Indian telecom services market.

The Indian Telecom services market, as Voice and Data classifies it, does not include equipment sales, but captures the voice market, data market (including broadband), international calling etc..

The overall telecom services market grew at 14.9%, hitting Rs 1.66 lakh crore.

62% of it was comprised of cellular services (including mobile voice and mobile data,) while 7% was fixed line revenues and almost 14% of the revenues came from international calling.

Broadband (mostly DSL) made up just around 4%, but was the fastest growing at 22.4% growth year over year. Cellular service revenues too grew, but at a slower rate of 17% while landline revenues dipped by 16% (see chart.)

Among the operators, MTNL did even more poorly than BSNL by shrinking its revenues by 22%, compared to BSNL which saw revenues drop by 10% (see chart.)