Tuesday, March 31, 2009

>India Mobile Sector (UBS)

India adds 13.7m subs in February 2009

Detailed analysis of India mobile subscriber data
In this note, we present a detailed outlook on the Indian mobile subscriber base from an operator-wise and a service area-wise perspective. We have also the analysed Bharti, RCOM and Idea subscriber base, and subscriber market share.

Subscriber growth momentum continues in February 2009
India added 13.7m mobile subs in February vs 15.4m in January. Bharti leads the subscriber market with a share of 25%, followed by RCOM at 19% and Vodafone at 18%. RCOM continued to gain a significant incremental market share of 25% in February (compared with 32% in January), driven by its attractive GSM prepaid plan offering. Bharti, Vodafone and Idea captured incremental market share of 20%, 19% and 11%, respectively, last month.

Reiterate 12-month Buy, Short-term Sell on Bharti; Buy on Idea, RCOM
India is an ultra-competitive mobile market, and we have already factored in an increase in competitive intensity following RCOM's GSM launch (ie, our estimates take into account lower revenue per minute realizations leading to lower margins and returns). We maintain a 12-month Buy rating on Bharti, RCOM and Idea. We introduced Short-term Sell ratings on Bharti, Idea and RCOM on 15 January 2009 as we expected: (1) negative newsflow on pricing moves post RCOM GSM launch; and (2) consensus earnings downgrades. The consensus FY10 net profit estimate has declined 20% for Idea and 24% for RCOM since 15 January. Therefore we dropped our Short-term Sell ratings on these two effective 13 March 2009. Since the FY10 net profit consensus earnings estimate for Bharti has declined by only 4%, we expect more downgrades and hence maintain our Short-term Sell rating.

To see full report: INDIA MOBILE SECTOR