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Vodafone Idea users consumed 48.5 million TB of data in Q4FY21, net loss at Rs 6,985 crore

The telecom service provider saw an 11.8% decline in revenue on a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis.

Vodafone Idea (Vi) users consumed 48.5 million terabytes of data in Q4FY21, which ended on March 31, 2021; the per-user consumption has also increased from 11.5GBG to 13GB. The total data volume is up by almost 20% from the same quarter last year; the consumption in the following quarter is likely to be higher due to the spike in data consumption that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have caused. The company said it saw “strong 4G net additions” of 4.2 million, putting the current 4G base at 113.9 million.

However, the company continues to suffer net losses due to a variety of factors including a one-time network expense. Capital infusion seems to be the only move that can revive the telco’s finances, which said that it was in active discussions with potential investors. “Cost optimisation [is] underway with a target to achieve Rs 40 billion annualised opex savings by December 2021; achieved ~65% of targeted opex efficiency on run-rate basis,” the company said in a press release.

Most of the QoQ revenue decline in this quarter was due to the abolition of the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC), where a telco whose user is placing a call paid the receiving network a statutorily mandated amount. Airtel and Jio were likely not hit as hard on this aspect as their incoming and outgoing call traffic were largely balanced, rendering the IUC a drop in the bucket for them in terms of cash flow.

On network expansion: Till date, we have deployed over ~62,000 TDD sites in addition to the deployment of ~13,600 Massive MIMO sites and ~12,600 small cells. Our overall broadband site count stood at 452,650 as of March 31, 2021 compared to 436,006 a year ago. We have shut down over 30,000 3G sites during the year while we added over 47,000 4G sites. We continue to expand our LTE 900 presence in 11 circles at select locations, including through dynamic spectrum refarming, to improve customer experience. Our 4G network covers over 1 billion Indians as of March 31, 2021 (4G coverage is the population reached/covered by Vi with its 4G network). — Vi quarterly report

Operationally, Vi acquired 23.6 MHz of spectrum in the 900 and 1800 MHz ranges in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, UP East, UP West, and West Bengal at an aggregate value of Rs. 1,993 crore in March’s spectrum auction.

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Financial snapshot — Q4FY21

Revenue: Rs 9,610 crore, down 11.8% QoQ

EBITDA: Rs 4,408.7 crore (as against Rs 4,380 crore in Q4FY20)

Net Loss: Rs 6,985.1 crore (down ~40% YoY)

Press Release | Quarterly Report

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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