There was very little information about India on Vodafone‘s earnings conference call, for the quarter, where Vodafone India’s revenues increased by 13.6% year-on-year to £1.125 billion (Rs 9,394 crore). This included voice revenues of £790 million (Rs 6,617.16 crore), data revenue of £94 million (Rs 784 crore) and messaging revenue of £41 million (Rs 341.94 crore). Here are some notes from the conference call:
- Growth in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region came from growth in customers, improved data penetration and stabilizing prices, particularly in India.
- India grew by 9% for the quarter, registering a slight slowdown from the previous quarter. Vodafone CFO Andy Halford attributed the slowdown to the new subscriber verification rules, which required all operators to verify all new customers, thereby resulting in a lower customer acquisition rate in the quarter. Nick Read, Vodafone CEO (Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region) added that this will continue to dampen Vodafone results in the fourth quarter.
- Halford mentioned that Vodafone’s group EBITDA margin will decline at a slower rate this year as compared to previous year, due to its cost efficiency programs and improving margins in India and South Africa.
- On M-Pesa: Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao mentioned that the opportunity for mobile money transfers in emerging markets is definitely evident but pointed out that they will not able to extend the same African conditions to India, since both are different markets. Read added that the M-Pesa’s operating and business model varies across countries, depending on the country’s regulatory conditions. For instance, they have tied up with a bank partner here and users cannot take their money out of the service right now.
Vodafone India had signed a strategic alliance with ICICI Bank to extend its mobile money transfer and payment service ‘M-Pesa’ to India in November 2012. The company was offering this service through its wholly owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd (MCSL) and was initially available in the eastern region including West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand among others, followed by a phased rollout in other parts of the country.
- On removal of promotional minutes: Read mentioned that the pricing has pretty much stabilized this year and they are seeing signs of prices increasing in the region, with promotional minutes being removed from the marketplace.
- On Forthcoming Spectrum Auction: Vodafone believes that number of circles in the forthcoming March auction are overpriced when compared to the International standards and it is currently waiting to see what the demand will be in the auction. Vodafone had picked up 23 blocks of 1800MHz spectrum in 14 circles including Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, North East, Orissa, Punjab, UP East, UP West and West Bengal circles for Rs 1127.94 crore.
Listen - Vodafone Q3-FY13 Earnings Call
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