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Indian telecom operator Idea Cellular has said in a statement announcing its financial results for the quarter ending September 30th 2009, has said that an estimated 20% of all India subscribers are currently using multiple SIMS, particularly due to the “Dual-SIM device”, priced under Rs. 20, which facilitates the simultaneous use of dual-SIMs on the handset.

“An estimated 20% of all India subscribers are currently using multiple SIMs, the proportion being higher in urban areas. Such consumers are inclined to retain their original subscription for better coverage, service, and reliability considerations, but selectively pursue price arbitrage for outgoing calls. Popular subscriber based metrics like ARPU and churn lose relevance, and give way to more orthodox metrics,” according to the company.

ARPU, VAS, Subscriber Base Addition

Idea Cellular (excluding Spice Communications) added around 4 million subscribers, during the quarter, which took its subscriber base to 46.8 million. Around 95.3% of its subscriber base was pre-paid. The worrying factor is a significant decline in ARPU to Rs. 209, and more so – a continued decline in its ARPU. Idea claims that about 40% of its revenues are from rural consumer, and the company has thus been impacted by seasonally subdued demand and delayed monsoons.

In line with the trend over the past few quarters, the contribution of Value Added Services (including P2P SMS) increased to 10.6% of Idea’s Revenue. In case of Spice Communications, VAS was 11.7% of revenue. SMS, as a percentage of revenue, has not been disclosed for either company.

Total Minutes on the Network were 50,339 Million in the quarter, as compared to against 48,729 Million during the quarter ending June 30th 2009.

Details: FinancialsRelease | Quarterly Report | Earnings Call

Note: We’ll update with more details shortly

Key Corporate Announcements

Jul-09: Idea launched in Chennai
Sep-09: Partners Reuters Market Light to offer Krishi Voucher
Oct-09: Launched commercial operations in J&K on 14th Oct, 2009.

Plans For Dec-09 Quarter: Launch in Kolkata & West Bengal in October, and North East & Assam service areas in Q3.

Related

Q1-10: Idea Cellular PAT Up To Rs. 3075M; Churn Up, ARPU & MoU Down
Q4-09: Idea Cellular Profit Down 6.42% YoY; Subs, Churn Up; ARPU, RPM Decline