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Uninor continues to grow even as others slow down

Uninor, the Indian unit of Norway’s Telenor, reported a 67.3% year-on-year jump in operating profits (EBITDA) for the three months ended December 2013.

The company also said revenue from its six operating states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Goa rose by 35.8% during the three months. They increased 15% in Norwegian Crowns (Kroner) compared to the November quarter, in spite of currency movements.

However, as Uninor was forced to shut down operations in several circles, overall revenue rose only 3.2%.

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The company was getting an average revenue of Rs 106 per subscriber in the December quarter, compared to Rs 100 in the preceding quarter and Rs 91 in the same quarter a year earlier.

Subscribers in India made the longest calls on their mobile phones at an average of 442 minutes per month, compared to about 250 minutes in most other markets. The 442 figure is possibly the highest number even among Indian telecom operators as Idea Cellular’s minutes of use is about 375 minutes and Bharti Airtel’s is about 435 minutes per minute per subscriber.

Interestingly, even as the minutes of use per subscriber has been falling for all other subscribers, Uninor’s minutes of usage increased in the December quarter from 434 minutes in the September quarter. A year earlier, minutes of usage had been only 371 per month per user.

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Uninor Arpu

The numbers indicate that as other operators have increased call tariffs, Uninor, which prides itself on keeping its costs and tariffs extremely low, may be benefiting. Indian consumers often keep two connections on their phones – one for network availabilit

y, and another for cheap tariffs.

Uninor currently has about 19,000 cell sites.Uninor also last week announced that it would expand its six-state network by 5,000 base stations in five months – its biggest expansion since the initial phase.

Uninor however said it has accumulated operating losses of about 14,300 crore rupees.

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