Friday, April 20, 2012

>Bharti Airtel launches TD LTE in India; Bharti kicks off 4G in India

Bharti Airtel launches TD LTE in india Bharti Airtel, India’s largest wireless operator, became the first operator in India to launch 4G services. The company launched TD LTE in Kolkata, one of the four circles in which it acquired spectrum in June 2010. Our interaction with the company indicated that it is a city-wide commercial launch and the company will be launching in other circles shortly.

Early days; high service and device price implies urban focus Bharti has launched LTE with a service price largely in line with high usage 3G data plans. However minimum monthly commitment is much higher than for 3G services, at INR999/month (USD20). Bharti has launched 4G with data card and a Wi-Fi device with a minimum cost of INR7,750 (USD155). We expect initial focus to be urban markets.

No significant impact on earnings or capex estimate
We do not expect any significant impact of LTE launch to our estimates, including capex, considering the limited geographical launch, and high device and service price. 3G, which had a much wider launch, has also not had much success one year since launch. Bharti paid INR33b to acquire spectrum in 2.3Ghz band in four out of 22 circles. RIL, which is the only company holding pan-India 2.3Ghz spectrum, will be the key operator to watch for. Our checks indicate that 1) a meaningful launch by RIL in 2012 is unlikely, and 2) RIL will closely watch for developments on 700Mhz spectrum auction as it is much more capex efficient compared to 2.3Ghz. We have a DCF-based TP of INR400 for Bharti.

To read report in  detail: BHARTI AIRTEL