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Idea Cellular loss widens, ARPU down, VoLTE in early 2018

Idea Cellular reported a 19.7% year-on-year decline in its standalone revenue for the second quarter of this financial year, while net loss increased to Rs 1,176 cr from 617 cr in the preceding quarter and a net profit of 4.3 cr in the year-ago period.

The revenue per subscriber (ARPU) also fell by 6.6% to Rs. 132 from Rs. 141 in the preceding quarter.

Prices continued to fall as voice realisation rate fell by 9.9% to 22.0 paisa per minute from 24.4 paisa in the preceding quarter and mobile data realisation fell by half to 2.7 paisa per MB or about Rs 27 per GB from the previous quarter.

Despite halving of data tariff on quarter, the consumption increased only by 74%, resulting in a net shrinkage of data revenue.

Total data traffic carried on the network was 438.7 billion MB versus 3800 bln MB on Jio for the same period.

“The broadband data usage has nearly doubled to 413 billion MB in Q2FY18 from 228.8 billion MB in Q1FY18. While the total mobile data users on Idea network remained flat at 38.2 million, the broadband (3G+4G) subscribers increased by 3.2 million to 29.6 million in Q2FY18.

The 4G population under coverage reached 38.1% of the country, or about 45 crore people.

“Further, the planned deployment of 2300 MHz or 2500 MHz spectrum band in many of its leadership markets during the current financial year will further boost Idea’s 4G capacity in these key markets,” the company said.

Idea’s fiber network has now cross the 1.5 lakh km mark, with 150,500 km of fiber at the end of September. It said total investment into the business has crossed 1.22 lakh cr. In comparision, Reliance Jio is estimated to have invested about Rs 2.5 lakh cr.

VOICE

Idea also said it will introduce VoLTE by early 2018, or in the next 2-3 months.

Quarterly voice minutes grew by 1.7% to 255 billion minutes.

“While seasonal industry slowdown followed the past trends, as always ‘July to September 2017 quarter’ impact on Idea’s subscribers and revenue loss was more pronounced given its higher share of rural subscribers. This coupled with continued pricing pressure and GST change, resulted in overall company revenue declining to Rs. 74,654 million, a reduction of 8.6% compared to Rs. 81,665 million in Q1FY18,” the company said.

“With the introduction of unlimited voice (Local + STD) and bundled data price plans, the consumption habits of Indian mobility users is undergoing a sea change. As Indian customers graduate to higher ticket unlimited/bundled plans, the mobile service consumption trends are shifting from ‘snacking’ to ‘buffet’ with marked higher per
subscriber usage,” the company said.

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