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Vodafone India reaches 10M 3G connections in Q1-FY15

The addition of 3 million 3G data connections in the quarter – the highest 3G adoption by Vodafone India customers in a quarter – led to the telco reaching the 10 million 3G connection mark in India for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 (Q1-FY15). It had reported 7 million 3G connections in the previous quarter and 3.7 million 3G connections in the same quarter last year.

In comparison, RCOM had 12.9 million 3G connections in Q4-FY14, Airtel had 10.98 million 3G connections in Q4-FY14 while Idea’s 3G connection base was at 10.6 million for Q1-FY15.

Remember that Vodafone had resumed 3G services in 11 circles through its intra-circle roaming agreement with Airtel and Idea Cellular during the quarter, enabling them to offer 3G services in these circles where they do not have 3G spectrum. It’s possible that this contributed to the significant growth in Vodafone India’s 3G subscribers base, although interestingly Idea Cellular didn’t see a similar growth in its 3G connection base for the quarter.

It’s also worth noting that the Department of Telecom (DoT) is reportedly planning to appeal against the TDSAT order that had reversed the government ban on 3G Intra-circle roaming agreements enabling telcos to offer this service.

Total Data Connection Base: Vodafone India’s total data connection base was at 57 million data connections for the quarter, registering a 9.6% growth from 52 million data connections in the previous quarter and a 38.4% growth from 41.2 million data connections in the same quarter last year.

Vodafone’s competitor Airtel had reported 58.08 million data connections for Q4-FY14, while RCOM had reported 37.4 million data connections in the same quarter.. Earlier this week, Idea Cellular had also reported 27.9 million data connections for Q1-FY15, although its not directly comparable, since Idea Cellular had started culling incidental data users (users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month) from Q3-FY14.

Other Data highlights

5 million data connections added during the quarter, down from 6.3 million in the previous quarter and up significantly from 3.9 million data additions in the same quarter last year.

3 million 3G connections added during the quarter, up from 1.8 million additions in the previous quarter and 0.4 million additions in the same quarter last year.

Total 2G data connection base is at 47 million for the quarter, up from 45 million connections in the previous quarter and 37.5 million 2G connections in the same quarter last year.

2 million 2G data connections added during the quarter, down from 4.5 million additions in the previous quarter and from 3.5 million additions in the same quarter last year.

Average data usage is at 238 MB for the quarter, up from 234 MB in the previous quarter and 222MB the quarter before.

Total data usage increased by 15.2% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to 37.7 billion MBs for the quarter, from 32.74 billion MBs in the previous quarter.

Data traffic in India increased by 102% YoY during the year while the usage per customer increased by 46% YoY during the year.

– 29 million smartphone users representing 17% of the total connection base for the quarter.

Strangely, Vodafone doesn’t seem to have provided data revenues separately for the quarter. There is also no information on the contribution of data revenues to Vodafone India’s service revenues for the quarter. The company has only mentioned that data revenue growth grew for the quarter due to the growth in 3G take-up.

In the previous quarter, Vodafone India had reported total data revenues of £121 million, up from £111 million in the previous quarter and £107 million in the same quarter last year. This had accounted for about 12.7% of Vodafone’s India services revenues for the quarter, up from 11.9% in the previous quarter and 10.3% in the same quarter last year.

Project Spring: Vodafone India has added 2,305 3G sites to increase its 3G coverage in targeted urban areas to 89% as part of its Project Spring initiative. It hopes to increase this to 95% by 2016. The company also claims that 63% of its data sessions were above 400kbps for the quarter, as compared to 62% in the previous quarter and 56% in the quarter before. More on Project Spring initiative here.

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