Vodafone India today said it is now trialing 4G services across selected areas.
Recently, Idea Cellular said it would launch 4G services in select locations in 2016. Both Vodafone and Idea Cellular will compete with Bharti Airtel, which is expanding its 4G presence, and Reliance Jio Infocomm, which will offer 4G this year-end.
Vodafone Group has 24.1 million 4G customers across 18 markets and 4G accounts for 35 percent of data traffic in European markets.
Vodafone, which has a strong 3G presence, in February 2014 said it could launch 4G LTE services in 5 telecom circles such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala – where it acquired 5 blocks of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala circles make up over 50 percent of its data revenues.
Vodafone Group achieved 78 percent year-on-year growth in data traffic against 81 percent in Q4. Data traffic of Vodafone rose 97 percent in AMAP, while the growth in Europe was 64 percent. In AMAP, the number of active data users across markets increased by 6.6 million in the quarter to 122.2 million.
Vodafone India added 1,000 2G sites and 1,100 3G sites in the first quarter as per the Project Spring program. 3G outdoor population coverage in targeted urban areas reached to 91 percent.
Vodafone India revenue rose 6.9 percent to £1.13 billion million or $1.75 billion – fuelled by 3G data growth – in the first quarter ended 30 June, 2015.
The growth rate slowed due to the impact of regulation, including an MTR cut. Excluding MTRs, service revenue grew by 10.6 percent against 13.2 percent in Q4.
Vodafone India data revenue grew 65 percent supported by the addition of 3.1 million new data customers, taking the total to 66.8 million.
Smartphone penetration is now 26 percent across the country and 47 percent in the four metro circles and we now have 22 million 3G customers compared to 10 million a year ago.
While total voice traffic continues to grow, the outgoing rate per minute has continued to decline, reflecting increased competition. The average minutes of use per customer is lower than a year ago but has increased slightly compared to the previous quarter.
Total mobile customers increased 1.6 million giving a closing customer base of 185.4 million.
The Indian telecom service provider expanded its M-Pesa service and now have 501,000 active customers supported by 94,000 agents.