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Reduced voice minutes hits Idea Cellular’s net profit; Data still driving growth


Idea Cellular has reported 41.3 million mobile data subscriptions for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. In the preceding quarter, the telco had 37.2 million data subscribers showing a growth of 11.02% sequentially.

The company registered a blended mobile data ARPU (average revenue per user) of Rs 144, a growth of 21% from Rs 119 in the same quarter last year. However, on a quarter-on-quarter basis mobile data ARPU fell 2.04% from Rs 147.

Note that Idea Cellular had changed its mobile data subscriber definition in Q4 FY15, and has eliminated from its reporting incidental data users of less than 10 Mb/month. Idea Cellular had started culling incidental data users from Q3-FY14 and it had previously defined it as users who have consumed less than 1 MB/month.

The total 3G subscription base stood at 19.58 million at the end of Q2 FY16 growing at 86.51% 90% from 10.52 million subscribers from the same period last year. The telco’s 3G subscription base was at 16.66 million in the preceding quarter, an addition of 2.92 million customers.

Idea’s net profit after tax was Rs 809.3 crore in the first quarter, compared with Rs 755.9 crore in the same period a year earlier, growing a mere 7.06%. To give some context, Idea’s net profit was up 27.83% in the preceding quarter and up 60% Q4FY15. Idea attributed the fall in net profit to reduced voice minutes of use (down 3.2% y-o-y to 189 billion minutes), lower interconnect charges, reduction in national roaming call charges & SMS rate and increased pressure on data margins.

Data as a percentage revenue stood at 19.6% at the end of Q2, up from 17.7% from the preceding quarter. Data as a percentage revenue stood at 14% in the same quarter last year.

3G Mobile Internet connections

The data on 3G Internet for Idea Cellular at the end of Q2 FY16:

– 3G Internet connections: 19.58 million, up from 16.66 million in the previous quarter.
– 3G Internet ARPU per Internet customer: Rs 202, down from Rs 203 last quarter
– 3G Internet Usage: 802 MB per connection, up from 778 MB last quarter
– 3G Internet volume: 43.05 billion MB, up from 36.03 billion MB in the previous quarter.
– 3G Sites: 39,867, up from 33,621sites in the previous quarter.
– 3G phone penetration: Over 29.2% of Idea users own high speed 3G devices.

Mobile Internet 

– The contribution of non-voice revenues (Internet & VAS) to Idea Cellular’s overall revenues also improved to 27.9% for the quarter, up from 26.1% in the previous quarter. The growth is primarily driven by the increase in data revenues although the non-data VAS contribution decreased marginally to 8.2% for the quarter, from 8.4% in the previous quarter.

Mobile Internet volume grew significantly to 72.01 billion MB, up 14.89% from 62.68 billion MB in the previous quarter.

– The average realization per MB decreased to 23.4 paisa per MB for the quarter, from 24.6 MB in the previous quarter.

Blended Internet ARPU (2G + 3G) fell to Rs 144, from Rs 147 in the previous quarter and grew from Rs 119 in the same quarter last year.

Blended usage per Internet subscription grew to 615 MB for the quarter, up from 599 MB in the previous quarter and 447 MB in the same quarter last year.

Other services in 2016

Payments bank: Idea said that it would start consumer services by the second half of calendar year 2016. RBI has given in principle approval to set-up the Payments Bank to Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited (ABNL) as promoter.  ABNL (51%) jointly with Idea (49%) is planning to setup payment bank.

Download: Press release | Quarterly presentation | Financials

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