The top 10 ISPs in India

India has 16.7 million registered Internet subscribers of which close to 10 million are broadband subscribers. Before you think that India has 10 million superfast broadband connections, then let me clarify that India still considers any connection greater than 256 kbps as a broadband. With the advent of 3G, almost all of India’s broadband connections will be put to shame.

At the end of June 2010, India had an international bandwidth of 441GB used by various Internet Service Providers. National bandwidth stands at 388 GB.

There are 165 ISPs registered with the Telecom regulatory TRAI, yet 10 ISPs control 95 percent (15.9 million subscribers) of the market. Private ISPs Bharti Airtel and Reliance control a decent 15 percent of combined share.

Here’s a look at the top 10 ISP’s of India :

RankCompanySubscribersShare (%)
3Bharti Airtel13500338.07
6You telecom2849261.7
7Tata Communications2742241.64
10Data Infosys Ltd1046150.63
 Grand Total16720800 

When it comes to the mode of connectivity, DSL and dial-up connections rule.

Broadband connectivity split :

Overall Internet connectivity split :

Most of India’s Internet connectivity is through copper. DSL rules the overall Internet connections as well as the broadband connections. Wireless broadband is a mere 1.6 percent of the overall pie whereas it has a 7.5 percent share in the overall Internet connectivity. 

One in three Internet connections are still dial-up.

The State of Maharastra leads the total number of subscribers followed by Delhi, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. All the southern states make up the top 10 list.

Technology hasn’t progressed as much as it should have and it is evident from the low Internet penetration.  This is the biggest reason why 3G and BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) auctions has gained so much importance. It is common knowledge now that the investments in DSL or fibre would come down significantly and all the companies involved will heavily invest on 3G and BWA.

3G has quite a few players. Bharti Airtel and Reliance both have 3G spectrums in select circles. They also have more than 200 million 2G subscribers between them. It is only fair for them to lead the 3G race too. But Tata DoCoMo became the first private player to roll out 3G services. It got the first mover advantage. First mover advantage counts for something and DoCoMo could lead the 3G subscriptions race. The BWA scenario is a little different as Reliance Industries has a near monopoly on the spectrum. Tikona is the only other player which has a presence the top 10 and also owns BWA spectrum in five circles.

BSNL and MTNL which are leading the Internet subscriptions will see their market share erode in the next three years.

[Image from Flickr Stream of Codice Internet]