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MTS India data card subscribers jump 11% in one quarter

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. (SSTL), which operates its telecom services under the MTS brand in India, said its data card subscriber base for the quarter increased by 11% to 1.34 million subscribers.

Non-voice revenues contribute 34.5% of total quarterly revenues, the highest in the industry, the company said.

SSTL rolled out its 3GPLUS Telecom Network (EV-DO Rev.B Phase II) across all its 9 circles of operations. Customer offering included launch of MBlaze Ultra dongle with speeds of upto 9.8 Mbps. SSTL’s high speed data services now cover over 550 towns across 9 circles, the company said.

Consolidated revenues increased by 5.3% Q-o-Q to RS 2,996 million (USD 48 million), however for the full year it declined to RS 12,270 million (USD 209 mn) due to reduced operating footprint.

Blended mobile ARPU for the quarter increased by 2.8% to RS 97 (USD 1.65) on account of increase in minutes of usage, while minutes of usage increased by 2.9% to 373 during the quarter (Q-o-Q).

The Company recorded its lowest full year operating loss (before depreciation and amortization) in the last four years.

According to Dmitry Shukov, Chief Executive Officer of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, “During the quarter all our operational parameters have improved, which in turn resulted in revenue growth of 5.3% Q-o-Q. Given that we had launched our 3G Plus network in the latter part of Q4 2013, we expect the trend    to continue.

Revenue in Q4 2013 decreased by 23.2% year-on-year to RS 2,996 million, which was largely driven by closure of circles.

In the reporting period, SSTL’s mobile subscriber base increased by 2.2% quarter-on-quarter and reached 9.8 million customers as of December 31st, 2013. SSTL’s mobile subscribers’ MoU for Q4 2013 improved to 373 min vs. 363 min in Q3 2013.  Non-voice revenues, from both data and mobile VAS, for the quarter increased by 5.2% to RS 1,030 million.

SSTL reported an OIBDA loss of RS 2,081 million for Q4 2013, reflecting an improvement in OIBDA margin by 25 % Y-o-Y, margins improved on account of cost optimization, strict control over marketing and other expenditures and also on account of Operational efficiencies.

SSTL’s net loss during the quarter reduced by 41% (Q-o-Q). The Net loss reduced mainly on account of forex gains and lower interest expenses. SSTL made investments of RS 374 million (USD 6.38 million) during Q4 2013. Debt from banks and financial institutions at the end of 31 St December 2013 stood at RS 36.93 billion (USD 597 million).

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