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Vodafone India lost 1.5 million data customers even as it increases 4G base

Vodafone India’s data connections stood at 67.7 million subscribers at the end of the September quarter (Q2FY18). This was a decline from 69.2 million data connections in the preceding quarter and the company lost 1.5 million data customers. The telco had lost 4.6 million data connections in Q3FY17 and at least 1 million of them were 3G/4G customers.

However, in Q2FY18, Vodafone’s broadband base (which includes 3G and 4G customers) stood at 46 million increasing from 41.1 million in the preceding quarter. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the company said that it added 10 million broadband customers. Vodafone’s 4G base stood at 14.1 million, up 18.48% from 11.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Data usage per subscriber at the end of the quarter stood at 2.7 GB. Note this only applies to users who use more than 1MB. Vodafone India attributed this to the higher smartphone penetration which stood at 38% of the total customer base. Data usage was also driven by content partnerships with Vodafone Play, Netflix and Magzter in addition to strategic partnerships with handset manufacturers and application providers. 

Overall, Vodafone’s customer base in India stood at 207 million and was up 3.3% YoY. The telecom operator said that it has a rural customer base of 114 million at the end of September. The company added that it as around 144,000 sites and that around 128 sites are 3G and 4G enabled.

Financial metrics

  • Vodafone India’s service revenue stood at Rs 19,002 crores in the quarter which was down by 15.8% YoY.
  • EBITDA was at Rs 4,075 crores in Q2FY18. It had an EBITDA margin of 21.4%.
  • ARPU at Rs 146 in Q2 FY18. This was an increase from Rs 141 in the preceding quarter. Prepaid ARPU declined by 23% in H1, due to longer validity periods of up to three months in promotional offers.
  • Net Debt for Vodafone India standalone for H1FY18 is  Rs 61,800 crore.

M-pesa

  • M-pesa’s business correspondent network in the country stood at over 141,000 authorized agents at the end of the quarter.
  • It has a customer base of around 13.85 million registered users.
  • Note that Idea Money, Idea Cellular’s prepaid wallet service, increased its registered user base to 12.30 million at the end of the September quarter (Q2FY18), growing 4.62% from 11.76 million in the preceding quarter. Vodafone India will soon be merging with Idea Cellular; however, both the companies have not discussed what they will do with their payments businesses. Both of them also have a payments bank licence.

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