For the quarter ending December 31, 2017 (Q3FY18), Idea Cellular reported that it has 42.6 million mobile internet connections, up from 38.2 million in the previous quarter. Since Q3FY17, the total number of mobile internet connections had been on a decline, coinciding with the launch of Reliance Jio.
However, there is a change in the nature of the connections: there has been a decline in 2G and 3G connections, and a growth in 4G. A switch might be in progress. Of the 42.6 million data connections, 34.8 million (81.7%) were Broadband (3G+4G). In the previous quarter, 29.6 million (77.5%) connections were broadband.
1. Data connection reductions: The company lost 0.8 million 2G connections during the quarter, as compared to 3.2 million in Q2FY18.
Idea has set the benchmark for reporting mobile Internet connections in India by not including those connections that used up less than 1 MB for the month. The lack of growth in the 2G and 3G connections base is a bit worrying, given that Idea Cellular’s managing director, Himanshu Kapania said during the company’s earnings call that they will focusing on ‘unlimited free voice bundled with data’ plans. In fact, he mentioned that Idea’s Rs 179 plan, which offers unlimited voice and just 1 GB of limited data, was the most popular in Q3FY18.
2. Data consumption is increasing on Idea cellular networks. Due to competitive market pressure from other telecoms, Idea has been providing cheaper data services to its customers, because of which data consumption has increased.
Data consumption has increased 30.2% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), which is significant, but pales in comparison to the previous quarter’s 73.5% QoQ growth.
Total mobile internet, which includes 2G, 3G and 4G, data volume stood at 571.3 billion MB, as compared to 438.7 million MB in the preceding quarter, and 108.8 billion MB in the same quarter last year. The average usage by subscribers stood at 4,742 MB, compared to 3,805 MB in the preceding quarter, and 703 MB in the same quarter last year.
Idea’s broadband segment data volume usage stood at 548.6 billion MB for the quarter, increasing significantly from 413.12 billion MB in the preceding quarter and 84.5 billion MB in the same quarter last year. The average usage by subscribers stood at 5,708 MB, compared to 4,853 MB in the preceding quarter, and 971 MB in the same quarter last year.
3. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
Data ARPU per data connection (2G + 3G + 4G): Rs 95, down from Rs 105 last quarter, and down from Rs 111 for the same quarter last year.
More on Idea Cellular’s results for the quarter (and all the data) here.