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20% of Uninor’s customers in India are active data users, Telenor CEO Jon Frederik Baksaas mentioned during the company’s earnings conference call for the quarter ended December 31, 2013.
However these are more likely 2G data customers, since Uninor focuses only on providing basic services in voice, SMS and basic Internet and offer aggressive plans in these services.
In November last year, Baksaas had mentioned that the 3G handset ecosystem in India is still not at the level where the market could suffice on 3G service and at this stage, 2G service is more than sufficient in the country.
Earlier this month, Morten Karlsen Sorby, the nominated CEO of Uninor had also mentioned that the company is changing the way it is approaching selling data services to customers. It had announced plans to offer Facebook at Rs 0.5 per hour and Rs. 1 for a day of WhatsApp usage.
Other notes from Telenor’s earnings conference call:
– ARPU increased for the fifth straight quarter to Rs 106, which is up 17% year-on-year (YoY). Churn continues to decline and is currently at 4.5%, on par with the industry standards.
– Telenor added a total 17 million subscriptions globally in 2013. The subscription growth was primarily from Asia driven by significant growth in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There is still a significant potential for further growth.
– EBITDA was positive in December due to significant top line growth and extreme cost efficiency, however for the full quarter EBITDA was at negative NOK 137 million.
– In December 2013, Telenor finally got the permission for the business transfer from Unitech Wireless to Telewings. This completion of business transfer will enable Telenor to re-use equipment from the circles where Telenor exited in 2012.
– Last month, Telenor had stated plans to redeploy 5,000 sites for geographical expansion in existing six circles. The telco notes this will increase its population coverage to 50% from the existing 42%. This re-deployment will have a capex effect of around NOK 300 million and opex effect of around 300 million.
– On India’s total peak funding: Telenor is now considering that it has more or less met the the total peak funding commitment of Rs 15,500 crore, since it is excluding these 5,000 sites in India at a cash flow break even situation.