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‘Bill shock’ for first time data users will be waived off by Vodafone

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To attract more data users in India, Vodafone will waive off bills no questions asked for customers who experience first time bill shock , chief financial officer Nick Read told analysts in a call. Anticipating competition from Reliance Jio, Vodafone has also increased data allowances in 2G and 3G following Airtel and Idea.

“We’ve also increased allowances impacts greater than Rs 350 rupees by about 25% to 40%, as well whilst holding price points. So I think it’s more about stimulation of the market, ahead of Jio coming in and making sure that we offer good value to the higher value customers as well,” Read added.

For the quarter ended June 30 (Q1 FY17) Vodafone reported that it has 69.7 million data customers in India, a growth of 4.34% from 66.8 million in the same period last year.  The 3G / 4G customer base grew to 32.3 million from 27.8 million in the preceding quarter and up 46% y-o-y. We estimated that Vodafones 4G base stood at 4 lakh in the preceding quarter.

Vodafone has launched 4G in five circles, covering 46% of data revenues, and expects to reach over 60% in the current financial year.

Data browsing revenue was up 22% YoY this quarter and Vodafone said that this slowed from the pace of previous quarters. Vodafone India had reported 45% growth in data revenue in FY16 and 55% in the first six months of the previous fiscal, as indicated by this Economic Times report.

Other data highlights

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– 3G data usage is at 875 MB for the quarter.

– 3G and 4G users account 46% of total data users.

– Data browsing revenue growth was up 22% in the quarter compared to the growth of 35% in the preceding quarter.

– 9,700 4G sites.

– Added 3,300 3G sites taking the total number of 3G sites to 59,000

– Smartphone penetration at 33%.

– Service revenue declined 3.4% YoY to €1,519 million (~$1995 million) .

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Note that Vodafone has not provided average revenue per user (ARPU) for India nor has it provided the percentage of data as part of the service revenue. We have written to the company and will update once we hear from them.

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