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Idea Cellular Q1-FY14 Concall: Mobile Data Traffic Volume Up 92.2% YoY

Idea Cellular reported standalone revenues of Rs 6,535.5 crore for the quarter ending June 2013, up from Rs 5,538 crore revenues in Q1-FY13. It added 4.7 million data connections for the quarter ending June 30, 2013 (Q1-FY14) – the highest data adoption by Idea customers in a quarter – up from 4.5 million additions in the previous quarter. The company also noted that it added 12.6 million data connections on a yearly basis. Here are notes from the investor conference call:

– It reported 18% Year on Year (YoY) standalone revenue growth and 18.8% YoY consolidated revenue growth. Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director of Idea Cellular, said that the hyper competition phase is easing out and the Indian mobile market is returning back to higher growth levels.

– Net quarterly data customer growth was at 4.7 million in Q1FY14, up from 4.5 million mobile data users in Q4FY13. EOP of mobile data users using EDGE or HSPA platform was at 30.9 million penetration of 24.7% of 125 billion. The data ARPU was at Rs 54 per data user.

– It also claimed that mobile data contribution increased by 2.7% of the service revenue YoY with 92.2% mobile data traffic volume growth on YoY basis. In Q1Fy14, data volume reached at 13.8 billion megabytes.

– Speaking on Spectrum purchase, Kapania said that currently the government has allocated only 40% of the available spectrum. Govt has a large amount of spectrum available in the 1800 band,while it has some spectrum available in 2100, 2300, 700 MHz band. Hence he indicated that there’s no need to panic and buy more spectrum.

– Active Subscribers: Idea says that the multi-single user trend is on decline and this has helped Idea reduce its subscriber customer acquisition & marketing cost by 3.8%. Customers buying new sim cards have fallen, and according to TRAI VLR release data (April 2013), the industry annual net VLR growth from May 2011 to April 2012 was 106.5 million which has fallen from May 2012 to April 2013 to 37.7 million VLR growth. However, in the same period Idea’s net VLR addition was 14.1 million.

– Minutes of use: Idea reported voice minute growth at 2.8% QoQ and 12.5% YoY to 147.3 billion minutes in Q1FY14. The pace at which the voice minutes grew is slower than market projection but Idea attributes this to the company’s reduced promotional free and discounted minutes schemes.

– Gross revenue:  While the absolute standalone revenue for the quarter was at Rs 65,355 million, the Q4FY13 gross revenue included IRU income on 11,094 towers (which were with Idea Cellular Tower Infrastructure Limited – ICTIL). Now that ICTIL is merged with Indus, these revenues were not accounted in Q1FY14. In Q1FY14, Idea Cellular’s core mobility business grew 9.8% in terms of gross revenue as compared to revenue growth over Q4FY13.

Idea attributes this growth to growth in voice minutes, data volumes and improvement in average realized rates. The total number of minutes on network increased to 147.3 billion, up from 143.4 billion. Data volume grew at 20.8% QoQ to 13.8 billion megabytes. VAS contribution increased from 15.3% in Q4FY13 to 16% in Q1FY1, up by 0.8% QoQ. ARPM grew by 2.5 paise per minute from 41.2 paise per minute in Q4FY13 to 43.7 paise per minute in Q1FY14. The company attributed this growth to high contribution from VAS and improvement in voice realized rate. In December 2012, Idea reduced the promotional free and discounted minutes to new customers, followed by usage & retention activities for existing customers in March 2013.

– The company added 2,114GSM site during the quarter making the total number of GSM sites to 92,208.

– International voice calling segment grew 83% YoY to 1.27 billion ILD minutes during Q1FY14.

Con call transcript (pdf)

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