Telecom Lead India: Idea Cellular is giving special thrust to 3G networks as its data ARPU for 3G users has increased to Rs 105 in Q4 from Rs 97 in Q3.
Idea Cellular says the blended 2G plus 3G (data ARPU) is Rs 55, up by Rs 3 over the last quarter.
The data contribution as a percentage of service revenue has improved by 2.1 percent from 4.5 percent in Q1 to 6.6 percent in Q4.
The 3G device penetration in Idea Cellular network increased to 8 percent of its 121 million EoP base till March 2013.
Idea Cellular’s 3G revenue growth is primarily driven by its cost effective smartphone strategy. Around 10 million of Idea Cellular customers own 3G phones. The 3G device penetration has helped the company to increase 3G active base to 5.1 million in Q4 FY 2013 with the highest net addition of one million during the latest quarter.
How 3G data is growing
In the fourth quarter, data ARPU for 3G active subscriber has increased to Rs 105 against Rs 97 in Q3 FY 2013, while the usage per 3G active data subscriber has slightly declined at 608 Megabyte per subscriber from 628 MB in Q3.
“Idea 3G network expansion program remains on track with additional 1595 3G sites added during the quarter. On an overall basis the company now has rolled out 17,140 3G sites in the 10 of the service areas, where Idea won spectrum in 2010 auction,” said Himanshu Kapania, MD of Idea Cellular.
While voice customers VLR increased 8.3 million net adds, incremental data customer growth was comparative at 4.5 million net additions in Q4. In the fourth quarter, Idea Cellular posted the highest data subscriber growth as EoP base of data users, blended for 2G and 3G, has increased to 26.2 million.
Increased data subscribers helped to expand data volume by 13.8 percent on a sequential quarterly basis to 11.4 billion megabytes from 10 billion megabytes in Q3 FY 2013.
Idea Cellular’s 3G reach
There are several other factors that contribute to Idea Cellular’s major expansion plans focusing on 3G.
Idea Cellular serves 4,083 towns and 15,348 villages with its own 3G high-speed data HSPA plus network, besides additional presence in 10 circles on the 3G ICR arrangement.
In last four quarters, the daily data volume for Idea has exploded from 78.8 million megabytes per day in Q1 FY 2013 to 126 million megabytes in Q4, up 61 percent within the four quarters.
“The power of pervasive Internet is slowly but surely entering the lives of Indians beyond the metros, beyond few knowledge workers, to masses. This is helping society transition from an off-line personal interactive world to a beautiful emerging online social age,” Idea Cellular CEO said.
The blended ARMB from EDGE users on GSM platform and HSPA users on 3G platform has improved 9.5 percent. The ARMB in Q4 increased to 33.9 paisa per MB, up by 2.9 paisa per MB from 31 paisa in Q3. The sequential quarterly revenue growth for data is 24.6 percent.
Mobile data alone now contributes to 6.6 percent to Idea’s service revenue.
Idea Cellular’s 3G smartphone Focus
Recently, Idea Cellular launched three new Idea branded 3G smart phones Zeal, Aurus-2 and Whiz. Zeal is a budget 3G Smartphone at Rs 5,300. Aurus-2 is another entry level 3G Smartphone at Rs 6,490 with latest Android operating system, Jelly Beans and a high speed 1 GHz processor.
“We are committed to develop the broadband wireless market and higher adoption of 3G smart phones is key to the growth of high tech 3G for masses. Company believes that it has a role to augment the effort of existing handset manufacturers by expanding distribution of affordable smart phones especially across Idea 3G spectrum markets,” Idea Cellular MD said.
Idea is going to rock the 3G space as its Capex (Capital expenditure) for the current fiscal is Rs 3,500 crore.