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Uninor To Expand Network in 6 Circles; ARPU Up 6% To Rs 106 For Q4 2013

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In the quarter where Uninor broke even in all its six operational circles, Telenor group reported an increase in ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for India region to Rs 106 for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 (Q4 2013), up 6% from Rs 100 in the previous quarter and up 17% from Rs 91 in the same quarter last year. The company attributed this increase to the improved quality of its customer base.

Highlights

Total subscriber base: Telenor reported a total subscription base of 28 million across six telecom circles Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West for the quarter. In comparison, Telenor had a subscription base of 26 million in the previous quarter and a comparable six circle subscription base of 22.2 million in the same quarter last year (Q4 2012).

Net Additions: Telenor witnessed 2 million net additions for the quarter.

Average Minutes Per User increased to 442 minutes for the quarter, a marginal 1.84% increase from 434 minutes in the previous quarter and a 19.1% growth from 371 minutes in the same quarter last year.

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Uninor Q4 2013 Average Minutes

Monthly Churn rate has declined to 4.5% from 5% in the previous quarter.

– Telenor mentions that the revenue in local currencies in six operational circles increased by 36% year-on-year and the gross margins in these circles is 4 percentage points higher than the same quarter last year to 66% due to increase in prices.

Redeploying 5,000 sites: Telenor plans to redeploy 5,000 sites for geographical expansion in existing six circles over the next five months and is planning to invest NOK 300 million (around Rs 304.8 crore) for this. With this, Uninor will have close to 24,000 network sites deployed across its six circles and claims to cover an additional 5 crore population in these regions.

Business Transfer to Telewings: Telenor mentions that it received requisite approvals for the business transfer from Unitech Wireless to Telewings on November 27, 2013 and the business has now been transferred to Telewings.

Last month, Telenor Group had increased its stake in Telewings to 74% after receiving FIPB approval to increase its stake and invest up to Rs 1,000 crore in the JV in June 2013. With time, one can expect Telenor to increase its stake to 100%, now that India allows 100% FDI in telecom.

Financials

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Telenor group has reported total India revenues of NOK 836 million (around Rs 849.3 crore) for the quarter, registering a 14.7% increase from NOK 729 million (Rs 740.6 crore) in the previous quarter and a 3.2% growth from NOK 810 million (Rs 822.9 crore) in the same quarter last year.

The operating loss however declined to NOK 132 million (Rs 134.1 crore) for the quarter, an improvement from NOK 143 million (Rs 145.2 crore) loss in the previous quarter and NOK 444 million (Rs 451.1 crore) loss in the same quarter last year. The EBITDA loss also declined to NOK 107 million (Rs 108.7 crore), from NOK 140 million (Rs 142.2 crore) loss in the previous quarter and NOK 327 million (Rs 332.2 crore) in the same quarter last year.

Uninor Q4 2013 Revenue

For the full year 2013, Telenor’s India revenues declined to NOK 3 billion (Rs 3,047.9 crore), from NOK 3.71 billion (Rs 3,769.1 crore) in 2012. However, there was a significant decline in its operating loss to NOK 576 million (Rs 585.2 crore) in 2013, from NOK 6.28 billion loss (Rs 6,380 crore loss) in 2012. EBITDA loss also declined significantly to NOK 585 million (Rs 594.3 crore) in 2013, from NOK 1.98 billion loss (Rs 2011.6 crore loss) in 2012.

Bank Guarantees: As of December 31, 2013, Telenor ASA has issued bank guarantees worth NOK 2.0 billion (around Rs 2013.9 crore), of which NOK 1.2 billion (Rs 1,219.1 crore) relates to interest-bearing debt and NOK 0.8 billion (Rs 812.8 crore) relates to guarantees issued to India’s Department of Telecom (DoT).

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