Idea Cellular is planning to raise Rs 1,000 crore by issuing unsecured redeemable bonds on a private placement basis, the company informed stock exchanges on Monday. Idea plans to sell non-convertible debentures (NCDs) that offers 7.57% interest for a tenure of 5 years. These will be issued in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) by 4th January 2017 and the maturity date will be 4th January 2022.

Note that this is Idea’s second proposal to raise funds via private bonds. Last month, the company issued unsecured redeemable NCDs worth Rs 1,500 crore with a 7.57% interest rate in the NSE.

The two consecutive proposal to raise funds comes at a time when Idea’s net profit fell significantly by 99.36% Year-on-Year to Rs 4.3 crore in Q2 FY17. However the company’s 4G base grew 70% quarter-on-quarter to 3.073 million 4G customers for the same quarter. This was the same quarter that Reliance Jio launched commercial operations providing free Internet and voice calls.

Idea to upgrade 3G sites to 4G

Jio operates only on a 4G base and currently claims 52 million 4G users. In order up its hold in the growing 4G market, Idea plans to upgrade all of its 17 service areas to 3G and/or 4G by March 2017. Currently it has deployed 4G services in 10 circles and plans to deploy 4G services in 9 new service areas by March 2017 using newly acquired spectrum in this year’s auctions. Idea bought 349.2 MHz of spectrum for a total of Rs 12,798 crore in 2016 auctions.

The company also invested Rs 100 crore in Andhra Pradesh  and Telangana circles for expanding its 4G and 3G infrastructure. Idea aims to hit 4,600 4G sites by the end of FY17 taking its total investment in AP and Telangana circles to Rs 1,000 crore.

Investments in Fiber

During Q2 FY17, Idea claimed to have upgraded its fiber network base to cover 126,000 kilometers. The company also claims to have 8,160 Point of Presence or access points across its Fiber line as of Q2 FY17. Idea will utilize these fiber PoPs as a backbone support to its mobile broadband services.

Financials

For the quarter ended September 2016 (Q2 FY17), Idea reported:

– Gross revenue stood at Rs 9,300 crore, a decrease of 1.96% from Rs 8,791.5 crore from the preceding quarter.
–Mobile data revenue contribution which was at 21.9% of overall service revenue in Q2 FY17.
–Total data subscriber base of 54.063 million increasing 10.22% from 49.05 million in the preceding quarter.