DATA CARD

Long Live the Card!

Voice&Data - - CONTENTS - Akanksha Singh akankshas@cy­berem­dia.co.in

As.con­ve­nience.and.con­sump­tion.be­come.key,.there.is.a.sub­stan­tial.in­crease. in.the.num­ber.of.sub­scribers.opt­ing.for. data.cards.

is likely to boost fur­ther growth in the In­dian mar­ket.

Leading the wagon and sit­ting on the largest chunk of the mar­ket share is Huawei, with im­pres­sive mar­ket share of 55% in FY12 show­ing 10% in­crease from FY11. Huawei plans to work closely with op­er­a­tors to of­fer re­versed bun­dled data plans in the open mar­ket help­ing op­er­a­tors ex­pand their data busi­ness.

Huawei is fol­lowed by RTE which has shown tremen­dous im­prove­ment in its mar­ket share. The com­pany clocked its rev­enue close to R 449Cr in FY12 from R 374 Cr in FY11 show­ing a growth of 20 per­cent. RTE is sup­ply­ing data cards to al­most all the ma­jor op­er­a­tors like BSNL, air­tel, MTS, Re­liance, Air­cel, etc.

Third in the league is Mi­cro­max, show­ing con­sis­tent per­for­mance. Mi­cro­max gained 7% of the mar­ket share and

The data card busi­ness is grow­ing in a big way in In­dia and is show­ing im­pres­sive growth y-o-y. Pith in­creas­ing dig­i­tiYed life­styles, the need for wire­less broad­band is grow­ing rapidly which has led to an up­surge in the us­age of data cards. The data card mar­ket has emerged as one of the fastest grow­ing sec­tors in the last fis­cal and all the ven­dors in this seg­ment have shown good rev­enue growth.

The num­bers for this sec­tor speak for it­self. The data card in­dus­try grew by 17% in FY12. Data Card In­dus­try showed tremen­dous growth from FY11 with many new play­ers en­tered the arena and clocked the rev­enue to R 1,260 Cr for FY12

Pith the in­crease of broad­band us­age and the launch of 4G data card seg­ment

showed 37% growth this fis­cal. Mi­cro­max has been a reg­u­lar sup­plier to Air­cel, Tata Docomo, Re­liance, MTNL, BSNL, and air­tel. Olive showed close to 10 per­cent growth in the data card in­dus­try and is slowly and grad­u­ally firm­ing its po­si­tion in the in­dus­try. Com­pa­nies like In­tex (launched its Data Card in Novem­ber last year), Salora, iBall, Fron­tech have also joined the league and al­ready boosted the growth.

Ter­a­com has also made sig­nif­i­cant in­roads in the data card in­dus­try with 3G and PiMax don­gles in their port­fo­lio. The com­pany launched its data cards in 2010 and tied up with BSNL for the same. In FY12, Ter­a­com’s rev­enues clocked close to R 11 crore and is ex­pected to give tough fight to top three.

Growth Dossier

Data card in­dus­try is fu­el­ing growth of mo­bile broad­band tech­nolo­gies in In­dia. They are not only pro­vid­ing high speed but also bet­ter cov­er­age. Pith 3G, this has fur­ther en­hanced the speed. Pith mo­bil­ity and evo­lu­tion of smart de­vices, not only in In­dia but also around the globe, the need and de­mand of be­ing con­nected any­where and any­time has fur­ther es­ca­lated the de­mand of data cards.

To­day, the play­ers in this seg­ment are in tough com­pe­ti­tion with each other to of­fer best surf­ing speed at cheaper tar­iffs. Now, when fourth-gen­er­a­tion tech­nol­ogy is also com­ing into the pic­ture, the in­dus­try is poised for fur­ther com­pe­ti­tion.

Play­ers who have al­ready launched 4G data cards in the mar­ket, will ben­e­fit from the first mover ad­van­tage pro­vided the ex­pe­ri­ence and speed promised is ful­filled. Huawei and RTE have launched 4G data cards in Ben­galuru and Oolkota.

For a seam­less ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence, ser­vice providers have to meet the in­creas­ing de­mand for band­width, de­vices should be ca­pa­ble of us­ing high-end ser­vices such as data down­load, ac­cess­ing in­ter­net, etc.

The fight to­day is not only about the speed and con­nec­tiv­ity, but other ad­di­tional ad­van­tages that a ven­dor to­day is of­fer­ing to its cus­tomers in data card in­dus­try. Play­ers are leav­ing no stone un­turned in of­fer­ing best to its users with re­spect to ser­vices and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Play­ers are com­ing out with em­bed­ded cloud ser­vices into data cards and smart­phones.

Huawei has cloud ser­vices in data cards (cloud plus) which is of­fer­ing 16 GB space to users and comes free of cost loaded with re­mote fea­tures.

For One and All

Data cards are not only ad­dress­ing the en­ter­prise and busi­ness seg­ments, but also var­ied seg­ments like stu­dents, self­em­ployed en­trepreneur­s, house­holds, busi­ness ver­ti­cals, con­sumers in smaller towns, etc.

Pre­paid users on the other hand are con­tribut­ing in a huge way to the adop­tion of data cards. As con­ve­nience and con­sump­tion be­come the key fac­tors, there is an up­hill climb in the num­ber of sub­scribers opt­ing for data cards. Af­ford­abil­ity is also a ma­jor push fac­tor as the prices have gone down heav­ily, which has led to an up­take even by mid-level con­sumers.

The growth has been such that the fixed broad­band is also fac­ing tough com­pe­ti­tion from the mo­bile broad­band.

What’s Next

Leav­ing be­hind the con­nec­tiv­ity fac­tor, the in­dus­try will keep grow­ing as de­mand for ad­di­tional func­tion­al­i­ties like in­te­grated mu­sic player, dis­play, etc, will grow.

The In­dian ru­ral mar­ket is one of the key seg­ments where the in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion hasn’t in­creased as com­pared to the mo­bile reach. The ru­ral sec­tor holds a largely un­tapped po­ten­tial for the data card play­ers to grow the mar­ket to the next level. The trend to sub­scribe for fastest and in­stant wire­less in­ter­net ser­vices has changed the en­tire ecosys­tem.

In the In­dian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions mar­ket, which is highly com­pet­i­tive, lock­ing your­self to one op­er­a­tor’s net­work is not a wise de­ci­sion. But un­for­tu­nately, the 3G data card seg­ment in In­dia is dom­i­nated by SIM locked de­vices. Thus, hav­ing an open net­work data card has a lot of ad­van­tage over locked SIM don­gles which will be an up­com­ing trend in the mar­ket.

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