Shyam Sistema Teleservices (SSTL), the Sistema and Russian government backed telecom service provider which operates under the brand MTS in India, has reported a data card subscriber base of Rs. 0.43 million and a data Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of Rs 261 for the year ending 31st December 2010, and Rs. 274 for that quarter. At the end of 2010, SSTL provided data services in 100 cities in India, though that has since been expanded to 130 cities. SSTL’s data card subscriber base has risen from 0.12 million at the end of the April-June quarter last year; in July 2010, the company had said that its data card ARPU was around Rs 500, so that has almost halved by the end of the year, with growth in its subscriber base. The company can expect more competition with other telcos pushing 3G data cards, although no telco has pan-India 3G spectrum.

Still, this is better than its non-data card business – SSTL reported a blended mobile ARPU of Rs 77 for the year and Rs 82 for the quarter, albeit with a mobile subscriber base of 8.4 million. Non-voice revenues from both data and mobile VAS for the year were Rs 872 million, with more than half coming in the final quarter for the year, which accounted for Rs 442 million. Share of non-voice revenue as a percentage of total revenue increased by 5% for the quarter and 14% for the year. The company says that blended ARPU has increased for three consecutive quarters now, but keep in mind that these are early days for the telco. Interestingly, minutes of use for its mobile subscribers remained the same quarter on quarter, and amounted to 309 min for 2010.

SSTL reported consolidated revenues for the year Rs 523.9 crore with a consolidated operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) loss of 1503.7 crore for the year.

The company received Rs 2698.80 crore from the Russian government for 17.14% stake at the end of the year, along with completion of SSTL’s Rights Issue of Rs 190.6 crore; Sistema continues to be the majority shareholder in the company with 56.68% stake. India has a foreign direct investment limit of 74%. SSTL President and Chief Executive Officer Vsevolod Rozanov says the financing will help the company expand its data network across India during 2011. SSTL has a “Data centric- Voice enabled” strategy in the Indian market, largely pushing its data products. Investments made as Capital Expediture by SSTL in India, as per a company statement, stand at Rs 5600 crore, including 571 crore made for the FY 2010. Its “Consolidated debt for Banks and Financial Institutions” now stands at Rs 5570.2 crore.

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