In order to increase revenue from internet services, mobile service carriers have been aggressively campaigning about internet sharing plans to consumers as most of the incremental revenue is coming from data services amid sliding realisation from voice calls.
Recently, all three top telecom companies released their TV commercials detailing mobile data sharing plans for family members and luring customers to opt for it as the scheme allows to create a pool of internet data which could be used by anyone within the scheme.
"We recently launched RED Family@99 which is in line with the ever evolving needs of our consumers. This value plan is ideal for those who prefer a family-size bucket of data, local and STD calls to share amongst themselves.We were the first ones in the industry to take this leap and proud to see this having become a trend," Sandeep Kataria, director consumer commercial with Vodafone India.
Airtel recently allowed its prepaid customers to share 3G and 4G internet data with family members at no additional cost, while Idea Cellular has provision to share internet balance to any number on the network for both prepaid and postpaid users. Airtel's plan allows a user within the group to use someone's unused data while Idea scheme offers to share internet with anyone who needs the access. In both cases, it drives internet consumption for mobile subscribers.
Analysts said data demand is what the telecom companies are focusing on to generate more revenue.
"If you look at the balance sheet of listed telecom companies, it is evident that almost all of incremental revenue is coming from data usages. As data consumption is growing gradually, companies are coming up with these plans to make more money out of it," said Shobhit Khare, telecom analyst with Motilal Oswal.
Airtel, the top mobile carrier, currently earns close to 19 per cent of its revenue from internet services while Vodafone, the second biggest carrier, derives 15 per cent its India business from mobile internet. For Idea Cellular, data revenue contributes 19.6 per cent of its overall revenue.
While all three top telecom players reported net decline in realisation from voice call business, Airtel reported 49.8 per cent in data revenue growth while Idea said its data revenue grew by 83 per cent in the July-August quarter this fiscal. Vodafone said its internet business grew by more than 50 per cent in the first half of 2015-16.