Vodafone Idea (Vi), the third largest telecom operator in India, reported financial results for the December quarter of 2021.
Revenue for the quarter was Rs 97.2 billion, a QoQ improvement of 3.3 percent, aided by several tariff interventions including the recent tariff hikes taken by all operators in November 2021.
Vodafone Idea’s EBITDA for the quarter was Rs 38.2 billion, assisted by improvement in revenue and higher savings on account of cost optimization exercise, which is partially offset by higher marketing expenses.
Vodafone Idea Capex
Vodafone Idea said Capex spend for Q3FY22 was Rs 10.5 billion vs Rs. 13.0 billion in Q2FY22.
Vodafone Idea added ~4,000 4G FDD sites primarily through refarming of 2G / 3G spectrum to expand 4G coverage and capacity as well as to upgrade core and transmission network. Broadband site count stood at 450,330, marginally lower compared to 450,481 in Q2FY22 as we shutdown 3G sites in a phased manner.
Till date, Vodafone Idea deployed nearly 67,000 TDD sites in addition to the deployment of ~13,850 Massive MIMO sites and ~13,150 small cells. Vodafone Idea expanded LTE 900 presence in 12 circles at multiple locations, including through dynamic spectrum refarming, to improve customer experience.
Vodafone Idea’s 4G network covers over 1 billion Indians as of December 31, 2021 (4G coverage is the population reached/covered by VIL with its 4G network). These network investment initiatives deliver a significant capacity uplift with data capacity now over 2.8x compared to September 2018.
Vodafone Idea increased the tariffs on entry level prepaid plans from Rs 49 to Rs 79 as well as increased tariffs on certain postpaid plans across retail and enterprise segments during Q2FY22. In November 2021, Vodafone Idea increased the prepaid tariffs across all price points including unlimited plans as well as combo vouchers, moving the entry level prepaid plan to Rs. 99.
Vodafone Idea’s ARPU improved to Rs 115, up 5.2 percent QoQ vs Rs. 109 in Q2FY22. Subscriber base of Vodafone Idea declined to 247.2 million vs 253 million in Q2FY22, because of tariff interventions, Vodafone Idea said. 4G subscriber additions were 0.8 million in Q3. 4G base now stands at 117 million. Subscriber churn increased to 3.4 percent in Q3FY22 vs 2.9 percent in Q2FY22. Data usage per 4G subscriber is now at ~14 GB/month vs ~12 GB/month a year ago.
The total gross debt (excluding lease liabilities and including interest accrued but not due) as of December 31, 2021 stands at Rs. 1,989.8 billion, comprising of deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs. 1,113.0 billion, AGR liability of Rs. 646.2 billion that are due to the Government and debt from banks and financial institutions of Rs. 230.6 billion. Cash & cash equivalents were Rs. 15.0 billion and net debt stood at Rs. 1,974.8 billion.
“While the overall subscriber base has declined as a result of the tariff interventions, the 4G subscriber base remained resilient on the back of superior data and voice experience offered by Vi GIGAnet. We remain focused on executing our strategy to improve our competitive position and win in the marketplace,” Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea, said.