Things don’t look good for Telenor’s India operations as the telecom operator reported a drop of 185,000 subscribers to 44.772 million in the quarter ended September (Q3 2016). The telecom operator had 44.907 million subscribers from the preceding quarter. The operator said that it was evaluating its options in India and had said that its long-term presence in India is subjected to its ability to secure additional spectrum, as indicated by this report in April.
Telenor had also chosen not to participate in the latest telecom spectrum auctions as the spectrum prices did not give “an acceptable level of return.” In May the company criticized the telecom commission’s approval of base price for the crucial 700 MHz spectrum, and its decision to hike upfront payments to 50% from the earlier 10% proposed by the TRAI for both 700MHz and 800 MHz band.
Telenor India’s revenue was flattish at 1.545 billion Norwegian Krone (NOK) compared to 1.551 billion NOK. However, it grew 9.49% from 1.411 billion NOK in the same quarter last year. The company added that it recognized an impairment loss of 4.1 billion NOK following assessment of fair value, and impairment of Q3 capex of 131 million NOK.
Telenor’s EBITDA stood at 132 million NOK compared to a loss of 58 million NOK in the same quarter last year. It reported a positive EBITDA of NOK 141 million for Q2 2016.
Mobile Average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped marginally to Rs 92 from Rs 93 in the preceding quarter and increased marginally from Rs 91 in the same quarter last year.
Despite this, Telenor said that it would be launching 4G operations in April in six circles it operates in. Earlier this month, existing Telenor customers in Kanpur (UP East circle) on 2G could upgrade to 4G free of cost and get 1 GB data for free. The telco is also offering 1GB data at Rs 52 for 28 days for such subscribers for the first 90 days of the upgrade. New subscribers opting for Telenor in UP East circle will also get 1GB 4G Data for the first month and 500 MB data for next 2 months on first recharge of Rs 152.
Download: Quarterly report
Image Credit: Telenor website
Update: Telenor clarified that it is not suspending its operations and the grammar in the story was changed to better reflect facts.