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GSM players post robust growth

Our Bureau

Despite a rise in revenue, the GSM industry witnessed a fall in average revenue per user.

New Delhi , Dec. 18

Private GSM mobile operators have recorded a 12.6 per cent increase in the total revenues in the second quarter of the current financial year (July to September). The revenue has increased from Rs 5,621 crorefor quarter ending June to Rs 6,330 crore for the quarter ended September .

On a year-on-year basis, the second quarter witnessed a 58-per cent rise in revenue compared to the second quarter of the previous financial year (July to September 5). The revenues of private GSM mobile operators rose from Rs 4,010 crore for July to September quarter the previous year to Rs 6,330 crore for July to September quarter the current year.

Fall in ARPU

However, despite a rise in the revenue, the private GSM industry has witnessed a fall in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for the quarter ended September 5. The average industry ARPU has fallen 11 per cent from Rs 375 per subscriber per month for the September 2005 quarter to Rs 335 per subscriber per month for the September 2006 quarter; a fall in ARPU of Rs 40 per subscriber.

Mr T. V. Ramachandran, Director General, COAI, pointed out that despitethe fact that ARPU in India is the lowest globally, the industry is still witnessing a continuous decline in ARPU. Because of the improving affordability GSM has emerged as the prime engine of growth in tele-density.

Bharti Airtel continues to be the leader as far as revenues are concerned with Rs 2,621 crore during the quarter July-September 2006 compared to Rs 2,310 crore in the previous quarter of the same year. The company's ARPU has however fallen from Rs 361 to Rs 348. Hutchison Essar has earned Rs 2,126 crore compared to Rs 1841 crore in the previous quarter. Hutch's ARPU has remained constant at Rs 373. Idea Cellular has reported revenue of Rs 848 crore.

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