ideaIdea Cellular has reported 30.9 million mobile Internet subscriptions for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, registering a 10.8% growth from 27.9 million mobile data subscriptions in the previous quarter.

Remember that Idea Cellular had started culling incidental Internet users from Q3-FY14, due to which its mobile Internet subscription base had declined to 25.5 million in Q3-FY14 and 25.26 million in Q4-FY14. Incidental data users are users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month.

The total 3G (voice + Internet) subscription base was at 13.3 million for the quarter, up from 10.6 million in the previous quarter. This indicates that the telco added around 2.7 million 3G (voice+Internet) subscriptions during the quarter. In the previous quarter, the company had added only 0.4 million 3G connections.


It’s worth noting that Idea Cellular had resumed 3G services in 10 circles through its intra-circle roaming agreement with Airtel and Vodafone in May this year. It’s therefore possible that this contributed to the growth in Idea Cellular’s 3G subscription base. Vodafone India and Airtel had witnessed a similar growth in the previous quarter.

That being said, its worth noting that 3G (voice + Internet) subscriptions represents around 43% of Idea’s mobile data connections and only 9.3% of Idea’s total connection base.

3G Internet connections

Starting this quarter, Idea Cellular seems to have started separating 3G Internet connections from 3G (voice + data) connections. The telco has reported a 3G data connection base of 10.5 million for the quarter, up from 8.78 million connections in the previous quarter and from 4.38 million connections in the same quarter last year.

What this separation has done, is that it has helped Idea Cellular bump up its 3G Internet ARPU and 3G Internet usage: 3G data ARPU has improved to Rs 195 from Rs 142 in the previous quarter, while the 3G Internet usage grew to 693 MB from 534 MB in the previous quarter. The data on 3G Internet for Idea Cellular at the end of Q2-FY15:

– 3G (voice + Internet) connections: 13.3 million, up from 10.6 million last quarter.
– 3G Internet connections: 10.52 million, up from 8.78 million in the previous quarter.
– 3G Internet ARPU per Internet customer: Rs 195 down from Rs 177 last quarter (revised from Rs 142 due to separation of 3G data connections from 3G voice+data connections)
– 3G Internet Usage: 693 MB per connection, up from 666 MB last quarter (revised from 534 MB due to separation of 3G Internet connections from 3G voice+data connections)
– 3G Internet volume: 19.79 billion MB, up from 15.72 billion MB in the previous quarter.
– 3G sites added: 2,648 sites added, up significantly from 1,135 sites in the last quarter.
– 3G Sites: 25,164 sites, up from 22,516 sites in the previous quarter.
– 3G phone penetration: Over 17% of Idea users own high speed 3G devices.

Mobile Internet revenues cross Rs 1,000 crore mark

Idea Cellular mentions that mobile Internet revenues grew by 22.5% during the quarter to cross the Rs 1,000 mark. Idea attributed this growth to a significant increase in the telco’s mobile data volumes and a steady ARMB (average realization per MB).

The telco also noted that the contribution of Internet revenues to its service revenues grew to 14% for the quarter, as compared to 11.5% in the previous quarter and 10.1% the quarter before.

Mobile Internet Internet

– The contribution of non-voice revenues (Internet & VAS) to Idea Cellular’s overall revenues also improved significantly to 21.1% for the quarter, up from 17.8% in the previous quarter and 16.5% in the quarter before. The growth is primarily driven by the increase in data revenues although the non-data VAS contribution grew to 7.1% for the quarter, from 6.4% in the previous quarter.

2G Connections: Idea Cellular added only 0.3 million 2G Internet connections for the quarter, taking its 2G data subscription base to 17.6 million subscriptions. The lack of growth in the 2G base might be worrying for the telco, unless Idea is transitioning users to go straight to 3G networks.

Mobile Internet volume grew significantly to 39.4 billion MB, up 21.2% from 32.5 billion MB in the previous quarter and up 125.9% year-on-year (YoY).

– The average realization per MB increased to Rs 0.265 per MB for the quarter, from Rs 0.263 per MB in the previous quarter.

Blended Internet ARPU (2G + 3G) grew to Rs 119, from Rs 108 in the previous quarter and Rs 55 in the same quarter last year. This significant growth on a YoY basis is due to the removal of incidental users.

Blended usage per Internet subscription also grew to 447 MB for the quarter, up from 409 MB in the previous quarter and 178 MB in the same quarter last year. Quite similar to Internet ARPU, the significant YoY growth in Internet usage is due to the removal of incidental users.

Idea Cellular Opera Tie-up: During the quarter, Idea Cellular & Opera Software had partnered with Quikr to launch Sponsored Opera Web Pass in India. Through this initiative, Idea Cellular was offering 10MB sponsored free Internet to Opera Mini users on its network for 24 hours. More on how sponsored web pass works here.

Also read: Idea Cellular: Viber won’t cannibalise voice services in India