It’s data all the way as far as mobile phone usage is concerned. The growth in data usage by customers is fuelling the growth of mobile operators and with the growth of smartphones this trend is expected to grow further, reports Rhik Kundu in Mumbai. The growth in data usage can best be understood by the trend reported by the country’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel. Its voice average revenue per user (Arpu) declined by 3% on a yearly basis in the October-December quarter but data Arpu jumped 25% during the period. Mobile data revenue now contributes over 85% of the company’s incremental revenue. Vodafone, which announced its earnings on Thursday, also saw its mobile internet revenue up by 70%.
“Growth in India has accelerated again, driven by data,” said Vodafone’s group chief executive Vittorio Colao. Bullish but simultaneously sounding a note of caution, Idea Cellular’s chief executive Himanshu Kapania told FE that mobile data is yet to evolve to the stage voice services have reached in the country. “People will have to make investments in 3G-enabled phones to access high-speed data connections,” he said.