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Idea Cellular adds 5.1M 3G users in FY14; Mobile Data Base at 25.26M


Idea Cellular has added 5.1 million new 3G connections for the year ended March 31, 2014, taking the telco’s total 3G EoP subscription base to 10.2 million. In comparison, Idea Cellular had added 4.6 million new 3G subscriptions during 2013 with 3G EoP subscription base at 8.7 million in the previous quarter.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2014, the telco has added 1.5 million 3G connections, a significant decline from 2.5 million 3G additions in the previous quarter.

The telco’s total mobile subscription base however declined to 25.26 million for the quarter, from 25.52 million in the previous quarter due to removal of ‘incidental data users’. Incidental data users are users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month.

Just like in the previous quarter, this removal of incidental users has helped the telco to bump up its mobile data ARPU and mobile data usage: blended (2G+3G) mobile data ARPU has improved to Rs 104 from Rs 91 in the previous quarter, while the blended mobile data usage per user grew to 410 MB from 309 MB in the previous quarter. The 3G user mobile data ARPU remained nearly flat at Rs 111 per month, from Rs 112 per month in the previous quarter.

The total data volume also increased significantly by 31% to 27.3 billion MB from 20.8 billion MB in the previous quarter, however the Average Realised Rate per MB (ARMB) fell sharply by 4.3 paisa to Rs 0.253/MB from Rs 0.296/MB in the previous quarter.

Mobile Internet Data

Data revenues are 10.1% of Service Revenue, up from 9.5% of service revenue last quarter, and 6.6% in Q4-FY13.
– 25.26 million, down from 25.52 million 2G+3G users.
Data subscription reductions: 0.26 million data connections reduced on a quarterly basis and 0.94 million connections reduced on a yearly basis.
– Data ARPU per data customer (2G + 3G): Rs 104, up from Rs 91 last quarter, and Rs 55 for the same quarter last year.

– 410 MB blended per user data usage, up from 309 MB last quarter and 163 MB last year.
– 27.3 billion MB data transferred, up from 20.8 billion MB data transfer last quarter, and 11.4 billion MB in Q4-FY13
– Rs 0.253 per MB is the Average Realized Rate per MB, down from Rs 0.296 per MB last quarter and Rs 0.339 per MB in Q4-FY13.
Non voice revenues (Data & VAS) is 16.5% of Idea Cellular’s service revenues, up from 16.1% in the previous quarter and 15.2% in Q4-FY13. Non-data VAS is 6.4% of the telco’s service revenues, down from 6.6% in the previous quarter and 8.6% in the same quarter last year.

3G data connections: 10.2 million, up from 8.7 million last quarter.
3G Data ARPU per data customer: Rs 111 down from Rs 112 last quarter
3G Data Usage: 462 MB per connection, up from 427 MB last quarter
3G Data volume: 13.08 billion MB, up from 9.469 billion MB last quarter.
3G sites added: 1,477 sites added, down from 1,873 sites in the last quarter.
– 3G Sites: 21,381 sites, up from 19,904 sites in the previous quarter.

Operational Parameters

– Connection base grew to 135.8 million (2G+3G), up from 128.7 million in the previous quarter.
– Average Realised Rate per Minute (ARPM) declined to Rs 0.436 from Rs 0.449 although the company notes that the voice elasticity more than compensated for the ARPM fall.
ARPU increased to Rs 173 from Rs 169 in the previous quarter.
Average minutes of use increased to 397 per connection, up from 376 last quarter, but lower than 406 minutes in the same quarter last year.
Prepaid subscribers: 95.7% of total subscriber base, same as the previous quarter.
Churn: 4.2% blended churn, down from 5.6% in the previous quarter. Prepaid churn was up at 4.3%, down from 5.8% the previous quarter; postpaid churn was 2.5%, down from 3% in the previous quarter.
– Minutes of Use: The total number of minutes on network increased to 157.1 billion minutes from 144.571 billion in the previous quarter.
Idea’s Active Connection base went up by 17.7 million, up significantly from 14.8 million last quarter.
MNP: Idea claims a net gain of 9.14 million connections so far, via MNP (i.e. porting in minus porting out, until March 31st, 2014).

2G Auctions: In the February 2G spectrum auctions, Idea Cellular secured 65.2 MHz of spectrum for Rs 10,715.63 crore. This includes 5MHz of 900 MHz spectrum in Delhi for Rs 3,704.8 Crore and 60.2 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum in 11 circles for Rs 7010.83 crore. The company noted that 45MHz of 60.2MHz is contiguous spectrum. This allows the company to offer 3G services in Delhi and LTE services in eight service areas at “appropriate time”.

Idea Cellular mentioned that it has committed a total amount of Rs 10,424 crore including an upfront payment of Rs 3,143.6 crore and Rs 7280.6 crore as government ‘deferred payment liabilities towards spectrum’. This has led to a significant increase in the telco’s net debt to Rs 19,185.5 crore for the quarter, from Rs 8,945.8 crore in the previous quarter.


Idea’s standalone revenue grew by 6.5% to Rs 7040.6 crore for the quarter from Rs 6610.5 crore, on back of 8.6% growth in ‘Total Minutes of Use’ and 31% in data volume. It claims a revenue market share of 16.1% in Q4-FY14, an improvement from 15.8% in the previous quarter. The company says its EBITDA grew by 37.5% year on year, and EBITDA margin increased by 4.1% to 27.9%.

Profit After Tax increased significantly to Rs 513.8 crore from Rs 398.1 crore in Q3-FY14. The Cash Profit for the company remained healthy at Rs 1669.4 crore, a growth of 6.6% over Q3-FY13.

Download: Press Release | Quarterly Report

Corrigendum: The article previously mentioned that Idea had added 5.1 million 3G connections in Q4-FY14. Instead, this is a FY14 number. We’ve updated the article and headline accordingly. The error is regretted.

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