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Telenor has reported a 32% increase in its active Internet user base in India for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

While the telco hasn’t disclosed any specific number on Uninor’s total Internet base, it’s worth noting that Telenor CEO Jon Frederik Baksaas had previously mentioned that 20% of Uninor’s customers in India were active data users.

The Norwegian telco also mentions that its Internet revenues in India grew by 42% in the last six months. It’s worth noting that Telenor focuses only on providing basic services in voice, SMS and basic Internet in the country and offer aggressive plans in these services.

In the previous quarter, Uninor had launched a new Internet strategy, focusing on affordable and service-based mobile Internet offers. As part of this new strategy, it had announced plans to offer Facebook at Rs 0.5 per hour and Rs. 1 for a day of WhatsApp.

Highlights

ARPU: For the quarter ended June 30, 2014, Telenor reported a total ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) of Rs 108 for India region, up from Rs 106 in the previous quarter and Rs 97 in the same quarter last year. The telco attributes this increase to a significant growth in the number of its Internet users and improved quality of Uninor’s subscription base.

Total connection base: Telenor reported a total connection base of 32.6 million across six telecom circles Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West for the quarter. In comparison, Telenor had a connection base of 30.5 million in the previous quarter. Note that Telenor has secured 6MHz spectrum in Assam in February 2014 2G auctions but is yet to start its operations in that region.

Net Additions: Telenor witnessed 2 million net additions for the quarter, as compared to 2.5 million net additions in the previous quarter.

Average Minutes Per User declined to 449 minutes for the quarter, down 3.02% from 463 minutes in the previous quarter but up 5.4% from 426 minutes in the same quarter last year.

Uninor Q2 2014 AMPU

– Telenor mentions that the revenue in local currencies in six operational circles increased by 46% year-on-year due to increased ARPU and a larger subscriber base.

– Tanveer Mohammed was appointed as the COO of Uninor earlier this month. He replaced Ruza Sabanovic who is moving to Telenor’s Oslo headquarters as its Head of Group Technology.

– Telenor also extended its partnership with the browser maker Opera Software, allowing Uninor and other Telenor subsidiaries to adopt Opera products into their offering. Through this, Uninor and other Telenor subsidiaries will have an option to offer Opera products like Opera Max, Opera Web Pass, Sponsored Web Pass and co-branded Opera Mini mobile browser to its subscribers.

– Last month, Telenor group had sought for an approval from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board of India (FIPB) to increase its stake in Uninor to 100% from the existing 74% stake. The telco is planning to invest Rs 780 crore to acquire the remaining 26% stake owned by its Indian partner Lakshdeep Investments & Finance Pvt. Ltd. Telenor had earlier formed a joint venture with Lakshdeep called Telewings which provides telecom services in the country under the Uninor brand.

Telenor hasn’t disclosed the churn rate for the quarter. In the previous quarter, the churn rate was at 4%, down from 4.5% in the previous quarter.

Site re-deployment program: Telenor’s site re-deployment initiative for network expansion that was started in the previous quarter, has apparently experienced some delays during the quarter and is now expected to completed in the current quarter (Q3 2014) if all necessary permits are received in due time.

In Q4 2013, Telenor had stated plans of re-deploying 5,000 sites from closed down circles for geographical expansion in existing six circles over a five months period. This was expected to increase its population coverage in the current circles to 51% from from 42% earlier. By the end of Q2 2014, 1,372 new base stations have been deployed. Including the previous quarter, a total of 2,408 base stations have been deployed until now.

Financials

Telenor group has reported total India revenues of NOK 1.02 billion (around Rs 991.8 crore as per current rates) for the quarter, registering a 11.1% increase from NOK 919 million in the previous quarter and a 40.3% growth from NOK 728 million in the same quarter last year. Telenor mentions that its Indian operations reported an organic revenue growth of 46% for the quarter.

The telco reported a loss of NOK 170 million (Rs 165.1 crore) for the quarter, as compared to NOK 1.53 billion profit in the previous quarter. However, note that the previous quarter profit includes a license fee offset of Rs 1,658 crore (NOK 1.7 billion) against the pending instalments for the spectrum acquired in November 2012 auctions. Without this, Uninor would’ve reported an operating loss of around NOK 169 million. It had reported a loss of NOK 107 million in the same quarter last year.

The EBITDA loss increased to NOK 106 million (Rs 102.96 crore) from NOK 83 million loss in the previous quarter but decreased from NOK 153 million in the same quarter last year.

Bank Guarantees: As of June 30, 2014, Telenor ASA has issued bank guarantees worth NOK 2.4 billion (around Rs 2,331.3 crore), of which NOK 1.4 billion (Rs 1,359.95 crore) relates to interest-bearing liabilities and NOK 1 billion (Rs 971.93 crore) relates to guarantees issued to India’s Department of Telecom (DoT).

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