Vodafone Idea lowers Capex spend in Q4 FY 2020

Vodafone Idea said it has lowered its Capex spend in Q4 FY 2020 to Rs 18.2 billion from Rs 33.3 billion in Q3FY20 due to Covid-19 related disruptions to telecom equipment supply and the nationwide lockdown.
Vodafone UKVodafone Idea’s Capex for FY20 was Rs 101.3 billion.

Vodafone Idea Capex

Vodafone Idea added ~21,000 4G FDD sites, its highest addition in a single quarter since merger.

Vodafone Idea added more than ~53,000 4G FDD sites during the fiscal driving significant improvement in 4G population coverage, which now stands at 992 million compared to 871 million over a year ago.

Vodafone Idea deployed ~58,800 TDD sites in addition to deployment of ~11,900 Massive MIMO sites till date, of which ~25,000 TDD sites and ~9,500 Massive MIMO sites were deployed in FY20. Overall broadband site count stood at 436,006 as of March 31, 2020 compared to 371,922, a year ago.

Vodafone Idea 4G

Vodafone Idea has a 4G subscriber base of 105.6 million. Total data volumes grew by 7.9 percent to 4,090 billion MB compared to the last quarter.

Vodafone Idea said its subscriber base declined to 291 million in Q4FY20 from 304 million in Q3FY20. Subscriber churn remained stable in Q4FY20 at 3.3 percent. ARPU for Q4 improved to Rs. 121 vs Rs. 109 in Q3FY20, driven by the prepaid tariff hike effective from December 2019.

Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said: “Our focus on rapid network integration, as well as 4G coverage and capacity expansion, has further improved customer experience. We thus continue to lead the league tables on 4G data download speeds across several states, metros and large cities.”

Vodafone Idea network

Vodafone Idea has completed network integration in 92 percent of total districts. Vodafone Idea completed integration of Uttar Pradesh (E), Gujarat and Delhi circles in January, 2020 and Uttar Pradesh (W) in March, 2020, taking the integrated circles count to 18.

The remaining consolidation in 4 circles – Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — is expected to take longer time due to the nationwide lockdown.

The improved coverage and capacity following integration, coupled with the deployment of TDD sites, Massive MIMO and LTE 900 on select sites has increased overall data capacity, which has more than doubled compared to September, 2018.

Vodafone Idea has the fastest 4G download speeds across the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, along with West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, based on Ookla data.

Vodafone Idea, as part of network integration, had removed surplus equipment from ~64,000 sites out of the total of ~73,000 co-located sites by the end of March, 2020, further reducing costs.

In addition, Vodafone Idea exited ~18,000 low utilization sites by the end of March, 2020. Vodafone Idea initiated a further cost optimization plan across the company in line with the evolving industry structure and business model to achieve next level of efficiency. Vodafone Idea will share more details on cost cutting measures later.

Vodafone Idea revenue

Vodafone Idea said its revenue for the quarter improved to Rs. 117.5 billion, an increase of 6.0 percent QoQ.

Vodafone Idea increased prepaid tariffs at the start of December 2019 across all price points for both unlimited plans as well as combo vouchers.

EBITDA for the quarter increased to Rs. 43.8 billion, a QoQ increase of 28.1 percent driven by higher revenue and incremental synergy realisation. The EBITDA margin improved to 18.0 percent vs 11.6 percent in Q3FY20.

Vodafone Idea said gross debt (excluding lease liabilities) as of March 31, 2020 was Rs. 1,150 billion, including deferred spectrum payment obligations due to the Government of Rs. 876.5 billion. Cash & cash equivalents were Rs. 24.8 billion and net debt stood at Rs. 1,125.2 billion (vs Rs. 1,033.1 billion in Q3FY20).