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Reliance Communications (RCOM) reported 38.8 million mobile Internet connections for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 (Q3FY16), up 4.3% from 37.2 million mobile Internet connections in the preceding quarter, and 23.17% from 31.5 million connections the same quarter last year.

Note that RCOM had started culling incidental mobile Internet users from Q4FY15. Incidental data users are users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month. This followed a similar move from Idea Cellular in Q3-FY14 and Airtel in Q1-FY15. Idea Cellular now only includes those users who consume more than 10 MB/month.

3G connections versus 2G connections

RCOM’s 3G connection base stood at 23.1 million and now accounts for 59.53 % of all data connections. 3G connections were up 20.94% quarter-on-quarter and up 38.32% year-on-year.  The 2G connection base also decreased to 15.7 million, from 18.1 million in the previous quarter. RCOM is now adding more 3G users than before, after a few slow quarters.

RCOM’s 3G connection base has surpassed its 2G mobile Internet connection base in the Q1FY16, and it is probably the only telecom operator for which this has happened.

Mobile Internet data

– Data usage per connection increased to 905 MB per data customer from 895 MB per data customer in the preceding quarter.

– Data traffic on RCOMs network has increased to 103.2 billion MB, up 35% y-o-y and up 6% q-o-q. This was due to increase in data subscribers and higher data usage per customer.

– Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased to Rs 142 for the quarter from Rs 138 in the previous quarter.

– Revenue per minute for the quarter remained flat at Rs 0.45 from the previous quarter.

RCOM Q3FY16

Financials

– The company reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 171 crore, up 9.61% from Rs 156 crore in the preceding quarter.

– Total consolidated revenue stood at Rs 5,298 crore down marginally by 1.1% from Rs 5,355 crore in Q2FY15.

– India operations revenues were at Rs 4,605 crore during the quarter, down 1.1% from Rs 4,701 crore in the preceding quarter.

– EBITDA stood at Rs 1,803 crore, down 2.5% y-o-y.

Other developments

– Earlier this month, RCOM and Reliance Jio entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum to provide LTE services.

– In the same month, the company received permission for its merger with Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (SSTL), which operates as MTS in India, from the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

– Last month, RCOM entered into a non-binding but exclusive discussions with Aircel to merge their wireless business operations.