Vodafone Idea loss narrows to Rs 4,882 crores

Chennai: With initiative undertaken to increase revenue and hold off competition coming into effect, Vodafone Idea, country’s largest telecom operator has announced that its consolidated loss has narrowed sequentially to Rs 4,881.9 crore in March quarter.

The loss has narrowed from Rs 5,004.6 crore during the third quarter of 2018-19, aided by 3.4 per cent drop in total expenses.

The books of Vodafone Idea recorded a comprehensive loss of Rs 962.2 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago. A year-on-year (y-o-y) figure is not comparable as the merger between India unit of Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular was completed only by 31 August, 2018.

Revenue from operations for March quarter of 2018-19 came in at Rs 11,775 crore, almost flat compared to Rs 11,764.8 crore logged in the previous quarter, growing only by 0.1 per cent. However, the average revenue per user (ARPU) for the said period grew by 16.3 per cent to Rs 104, from Rs 89 in the October-December 2018 period.

The telco said in a statement that the company has seen a ‘sequential stabilisation of revenues in Q4’ benefitting from the introduction of ‘service validity vouchers’ that require customers to make a minimum recharge of Rs 35.

‘As expected, this resulted in a decline of 53.2 million subscribers as ‘incoming-only’ or ‘low ARPU’ customers migrated their spending from multiple SIMs to single SIM, taking the overall subscriber base to 334.1 million,’ the statement added.

‘The initiatives we have taken since the merger are yielding positive results and we are well on track to deliver our synergy targets two years early,’ CEO, Vodafone Idea, Balesh Sharma, said.

He added the company remains focused on fortifying its position in key profitable districts by expanding coverage and capacity of its 4G network, targeting higher share of new 4G customers, and improving cash flows through cost transformation.

For the full year, the company’s loss stood at Rs 14,603.9 crore, while the revenue from operations was pegged at Rs 37,092.5 crore. The company attributed the reduction to disconnection of ‘incoming only’ or ‘low ARPU’ customers.

Number speak
* The firm added 5.4 million 4G customers, taking its overall 4G base to 80.7 million. The broadband subscriber base for the quarter was 110.2 million.
* The total data volumes grew by nine per cent sequentially to 2,947 billion MB, while total minutes on the network declined by 1.3 per cent during the quarter. Gross debt stood at Rs 1,25,940 crore, including deferred spectrum payment obligations owed to the government of Rs 90,680 crore.

NT Bureau