Idea Cellular will upgrade all of its 17 service areas to 3G and/or 4G by March 2017, the company’s CEO Himanshu Kapania said during a recent analyst call. Currently Idea has deployed 4G services in 10 circles. It launched 4G in Himachal Pradesh last month and plans to roll out 4G services in 9 new service areas of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh West, Uttar Pradesh East, Bihar & Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bombay, West Bengal, Assam, and Jammu & Kashmir by March 2017 using newly acquired spectrum in this year’s auctions.
Idea bought 349.2 MHz of spectrum for a total of Rs 12,798 crore in this year’s auctions. It currently claims to have an overall spectrum holding of 890.6 MHz across 5 bands.
Note than an Idea user on 4G will automatically drop to a lower technology (3G) in case of non-availability of 4G in a service area. The company claims to have 3.073 million 4G customers for the quarter ended September 2016 (Q2 FY17). In the same quarter, Idea reported an overall subscriber base of 178.8 million, with some 30.7 million of them using mobile broadband services.
3G sites and wired network support
On the recently acquired 3G spectrum under the 2100 MHz band, Idea plans use it only in highly populated service areas like Bihar & Jharkhand and Rajasthan. It currently offers 3G using its own spectrum in 15 circles out of the 17 circles it operates in. For rest of the circles, the company has inked 3G spectrum sharing arrangements. In last one year, Idea claims to have expanded its cellular network by adding 83,276 network sites on 2G, 3G, and 4G technology with a presence in 80,000 towns and villages.
Investments in Fiber: In this quarter, Idea claims to have upgraded its fiber network to cover 126,000 kilometers, adding more than 25,000 kms in the last one year. The company also claims to have 8,160 Point of Presence (PoPs) or access points across its Fiber line as of Q2 FY17; Idea will utilize these fiber PoPs “to further build and support its mobile broadband services,” the company said during the analyst call.
For the quarter ended September 2016 (Q2 FY17), Idea reported:
– Net profit which fell significantly by 99.36% to Rs 4.3 crore compared to Rs 675.9 crore in the same quarter last year.
– Gross revenue stood at Rs 9,300 crore, a decrease of 1.96% from Rs 8,791.5 crore from the preceding quarter.
– EBITDA of Rs 2840.1 crore, a fall of 3.2% from Rs 3074.2 crore in the preceding quarter.
–Total data subscriber base of 54.063 million increasing 10.22% from 49.05 million in the preceding quarter.