Airtel bets big on IoT business with an eye on increasing market

Airtel bets big on IoT business with an eye on increasing market
Bharti Airtel is betting big on its IoT business, seeking to tap into a rapidly growing market, driven by agreements with players across the automobile, fintech, utilities, and logistics sector.
A senior company executive said that Airtel's IoT business is growing 15% annually with more than 12 million connections live on the platform, leveraged by more than 8,000 enterprises in India.
The growth in Airtel's IoT business is led by the automobile, fintech, utilities, and logistics industries where the use of machine-to-machine communication is growing at a CAGR of 19.6%, according to Frost & Sullivan. The total cellular IoT market generated a revenue of ₹8,190 crore in FY21 and is expected to grow to over ₹14,000 crore by 2024.
The company has already become the market leader in cellular IoT solutions with a 49.3% share, according to the Frost and Sullivan report. That said, Counterpoint Research said Vodafone Idea is the market leader in India with 43% share, while Airtel had a 35% share of the market.
Telecom operators gain revenue by providing the IoT SIM cards to enterprises to install in remotely-controlled machines, which are then monitored through a central dashboard provided by the operators, he said. Airtel''s IoT solution powers connected cars, point-of-sale machines and the new soundboxes seen at local kirana stores accepting UPI transactions, where Airtel has a 94% market share, according to the executive.
The IoT business is part of Airtel's enterprise business, which grew 4.4% in Q2 2022 over the previous quarter to garner Rs 436.5 crore, according to the latest financial report.
The company's closest competitor in this segment is cash-strapped Vodafone Idea, which was 7.9% behind Airtel in Q4 FY22, with 41.4% share, according to Frost and Sullivan. Airtel overtook Vodafone Idea as the cellular IoT market leader in Q1 FY21, according to the report, and has expanded its lead over the next few quarters.