The Indian telecom industry’s average revenue per user (ARPU) has been falling steadily for both GSM and CDMA services, as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) telecom performance report for the period October to December 2009.
TRAI figures reveal that GSM ARPU declined by Rs 20, from Rs 164 during the quarter July to September 2009 to Rs 144 in the quarter October to December in the same year. The report shows a constant decline in the ARPU every quarter in the past year. While at the end of December 2008 ARPU from GSM subscribers stood at Rs 220, it dropped by Rs 15 in the next quarter ended March 2009. The trend continued for the rest of the year with a decline of Rs 20 in the next quarter ended June 2009 and a further decline of Rs 21 in the quarter ended September 2009, which brought down the ARPU to Rs 164.
During the quarter ended December 2009, Karnataka emerged as the telecom circle with highest GSM ARPU at Rs 162 in Circle A while the Tamil Nadu circle (including Chennai) had lowest ARPU at Rs 136.
In Circle B Punjab took the top spot with an ARPU of Rs 167, while West Bengal circle had the lowest ARPU at Rs 108. North East circle out did the rest in Circle C with an ARPU of Rs 175. Bihar, generating an average of Rs 114 per user, registered the lowest ARPU in this circle.
As for the metros, Delhi had the highest ARPU of Rs 213, followed by Mumbai with an ARPU of Rs 189 and Kolkata with a low ARPU of Rs 127.
Likewise, ARPU from CDMA subscribers also showed a decline of 7 per cent, from Rs 89 in the quarter ended September 2009 to Rs 82 in the following quarter. CDMA ARPU stood at Rs 111 in the quarter ending in December 2008, dropping to Rs 99 by the quarter ended March 2009. It further dropped by Rs 7, then by Rs 3 and by a further Rs 7, to stand at Rs 82 during the quarter ended December 2009.
During October to December 2009, Andhra Pradesh had the highest CDMA ARPU in Circle A at Rs 99 while Maharashtra had the lowest at Rs 70. In Circle B, Kerala had maximum ARPU at Rs 79 while West Bengal had the lowest at Rs 51. In Circle C, Assam had the highest ARPU at Rs 204 while Orissa was at the bottom with ARPU of Rs 79.
The three metros – Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai – have ARPU in CDMA of Rs 80, Rs 107 and Rs 129, respectively.
Another interesting fact that surfaced in the report was that while GSM postpaid ARPU remained constant at Rs 530, GSM prepaid ARPU has declined by Rs 19, from Rs 143 in the quarter ended September 2009 to Rs 124 in the following quarter. Prepaid CDMA ARPU declined from Rs 65 to Rs 60 during these two quarters and postpaid ARPU declined by Rs 10 from Rs 412 to Rs 402 in the same period.
Circle A comprises Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Circle B includes Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal. And Circle C comprises Bihar, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.