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Vodafone India Q3-FY13: 2.5M 3G, 33.1M Data Subs; Data Revenue Up 23.8% YoY

Vodafone India had 2.5 million 3G customers and 33.1 million data customers for the quarter ending December 31, 2012 (Q3-FY13), up from 2.1 million 3G customers and 32 million data customers in the previous quarter.

The company reported a data revenue of £94 million (Rs 784 crore) for the quarter, up 10.6% from £85 million (Rs 709.78 crore) in the previous quarter and up 13.25% from £83 million (Rs 692.22 crore) in the same quarter last year. Note that Vodafone’s financial report mentions a 23.8% year-on-year (YoY) growth, citing organic growth related to performance on a comparable basis, both in terms of merger and acquisition activity and movements in foreign exchange rates. The company had attributed this growth to an increase in customers taking data bundles and an increase in 2G data pricing.

The messaging revenue for the company stood at £41 million (Rs 341.94 crore) for the quarter, up 13.89% from £36 million (Rs 300.24 crore) in the previous quarter but down 16.32% from £49 million (Rs 408.66 crore) in the same quarter last year. The voice revenues increased to £790 million (Rs 6,617.16 crore) from £773 million (Rs 6,474.76 crore) in the previous quarter.

Vodafone’s India revenues stood at £1.125 billion (Rs 9,394 crore), up 13.6% from £0.99 billion (Rs 8292.39 crore) in the previous quarter and up 9.9% from £1.02 billion (Rs 8,577.18 crore) in Q3-FY12. The company attributed this growth to a more stable competitive environment in the country, which was offset by the impact of new subscriber verification rules and introduction of regulations to limit the processing fees that operators can charge.

Other Highlights

ARPU: Vodafone India’s (blended) ARPU increased quarter on quarter (QoQ) to Rs 182 from Rs 174 in the previous quarter.

PostPaid ARPU: Postpaid ARPU marginally increased to Rs 703 QoQ, from Rs 693 in Q2-FY13. Prepaid ARPU also increased to Rs 153 QoQ from Rs 146 in the previous quarter.

Churn: Postpaid churn declined to 18.9%, while prepaid churn declined to 65.9%. Total churn declined to 63.4%. Note that Vodafone accounts for churn over four consecutive quarters.

Minutes of Use: increased to 1.48 billion from 1.44 billion in Q2-FY13 and 1.33 billion in Q3-FY12, even though there was a price hike.

Fixed line revenue: declined to £4 million (Rs 33.45 crore) from £5 million (Rs 41.81 crore) in the previous quarter but increased from £3 million (Rs 25.13 crore) in Q3-FY12.

Other service revenue: significantly increased to £201 million (Rs 1,683.6 crore) from £91 million (Rs 762.23 crore) in the previous quarter and £99 million (Rs 827.88 crore) in Q3-FY12.

– 2G Auction: In the 2G spectrum auction that concluded in November 2012, Vodafone had picked up 23 blocks of 1800MHz spectrum in 14 circles for Rs 1127.94 crore. It had acquired spectrum in Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, North East, Orissa, Punjab, UP East, UP West and West Bengal circles and was paying an average Rs 39.23 crore per MHz of spectrum.

– Indian Tax Case: Vodafone informed that it is currently in talks with the Indian Government to figure out a solution for this matter, however it currently continues to maintain the same position as stated in the last quarter. Andrew N Halford, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director and Member of Executive Committee, had informed during Vodafone’s Q2-FY13 concall, that the company has decided to not make any provision for settlement with regards to the tax case in India.

Developments During the Quarter

– In October 2012, Vodafone India had launched a pilot mobile subscriber verification project in Hyderabad, through which it was using the Aadhar letter for both validating and activating new prepaid and postpaid connections in the region. Vodafone also stated that it had been appointed as the official authentication service agency (ASA) and authentication user agency (AUA) of UIDAI and claimed to be the first telecom operator to formally launch a Proof Of Concept for UIDAI.

– In November 2012, Nokia had partnered with Vodafone India to offer operator billing for its music service Nokia Music Store to Vodafone prepaid and postpaid customers using Nokia Asha phones or Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphones.

– In November 2012, Vodafone India signed a strategic alliance with ICICI Bank to extend its mobile money transfer and payment service ‘M-Pesa’ to India. The company was offering this service through its wholly owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd (MCSL) and was initially available in the eastern region including West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand among others, followed by a phased rollout in other parts of the country.

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