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Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) which operates in India as MTS India has reported 1.34 million data card subscribers for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 (Q4 2013), registering a 11% increase from 1.21 million subscribers in the previous quarter.

Non-voice revenues which includes data and VAS revenues also increased quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to Rs 103 crore, up 5.2% from Rs 97.9 crore in the previous quarter. However, its contribution to MTS India’s total quarterly revenues was flat at 34.5% for the quarter, compared to 34.5% in the previous quarter.

Highlights

Blended mobile ARPU increased by 2.8% to Rs 97 for the quarter, up from Rs 95 in the previous quarter, due to increase in usage minutes following improved quality of customer base.

Minutes of Use increased to 373 million minutes for the quarter, up 2.9% from 363 million minutes in the previous quarter.

– MTS India’s total mobile subscriber base was at 9.8 million connections for the quarter, registering a 2.2% QoQ growth from 9.6 million connections in the previous quarter. Sistema is currently operational in 9 of the 22 telecom circles in India which includes eight circles where it secured spectrum in the March 2013 spectrum auctions and Rajasthan circle which was unaffected by the Supreme Court judgment in 2012.

It is probably the only telco in India which was focusing on the CDMA services in the country, with Tata Teleservices surrendering 20MHz CDMA spectrum in December 2013. However, Reliance Communications had mentioned earlier this year that it is renewing focus on its CDMA business now that its CDMA voice revenues is almost stabilizing and the CDMA handset ecosystem is improving in the country.

– During the quarter, MTS India rolled out its 3GPLUS Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Rev B Phase II network which claims to offer download speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps. Coinciding with this launch, the telco had also introduced the next-gen MBlaze Ultra dongle in all nine operational circles.

– MTS India had also partnered (pdf) Micromax to launch a 3G EVDO + CDMA dual SIM Android smartphone called Canvas Blaze in December 2013. It was priced at Rs 10,999 and was bundled with 2GB free data per month, 1000 monthly local minutes between MTS subscribers and 120 monthly local (other telcos) & STD minutes for six months.

– The company’s high speed data services now covers over 550 towns across 9 circles, up from 500 towns in the previous quarter.

Financials

– Consolidated revenues in nine operational circles increased 5.3% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to Rs 299.6 crore for quarter, up from Rs 284.4 crore in the previous quarter. However for the full year 2013, the revenues declined to Rs 1,227 crore, down 24.2% from Rs 1,619.2 crore in the previous year, due to its reduced operating footprint in the country. MTS India had shut down operations in 10 telecom circles in February 2013 and pulled the plug in additional three circles in the following month.

– Net loss reduced by 41% QoQ to Rs 445.5 crore for the quarter, from Rs 760.1 crore in the previous quarter, due to forex gains and lower interest expenses. It also reduced by 9.65% for the year ended 2013 to to Rs 2,694.2 crore, from Rs 2,982.1 crore loss in the previous year.

– OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) loss reduced by 5.3% to Rs 208.1 crore for the quarter, from Rs 219.7 crore in the previous quarter. For the year 2013, it reduced by 40.6% year-on-year to Rs 858.4 crore, from Rs 1,445.7 crore loss in the previous year. The company mentioned this was the lowest full year OIBDA loss in the last four years.

– SSTL made investments of Rs 37.4 crore during the quarter while the debt from banks and financial institutions at the end of December 31, 2013 stood at Rs 3,693 crore.

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