Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest telco, said that 680,000 customers were actively using its 4G LTE services till March 31, 2016, and it further added 8.4 million new 3G users in last one year. The company is currently serving overall 22.9 million 3G data customers, though still a low penetration of 13.1% of EoP Subscribers. Idea said that 60.4 million of Idea’s strong 175 million EoP subscribers have upgraded their phone to 3G/4G smartphone including 11.1 million 4G smartphone owners, which represent 6.3% of its EoP.
Idea’s 4G services are available in 3,946 towns & villages in 10 service areas (Maharashtra & Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Orissa, NESA and Tamil Nadu incl. Chennai), covering 116 million Indians, 21% of overall population in these 10 circles.
Besides 4G, during the year Idea continued its 3G expansion and its 3G data volume exploded by nearly 2.1 times from 91.2 billion MB in FY15 to 188.8 billion MB in FY16. In addition to launch of new 3G services in Kolkata service area in the third quarter FY16, Idea introduced 3G 2nd Carrier on 900 MHz in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in Q4FY16, extending its 3G 900 MHz services to 3 circles (including Delhi Metro).
The overall Idea mobile data user (2G+3G+4G) penetration is now at 25.1% (of EoP). It said that 44 million data subscribers with blended mobile data ARPU (2G+3G+4G) at Rs. 147 in Q4FY16, as compared to Rs. 150 in the same quarter last year.
The mobile data revenue is now contributing 20.1% of service revenue and Non Voice revenue contribution has increase to 28.3%, as compared to 24.5% in an year earlier period.
The telecom operator said that it more than doubled its past three years average capex spends with network investment of Rs. 77.7 billion in the FY16. During the year, the company integrated highest ever 48,878 sites, comprising 14,466 2G Sites, 19,769 3G sites and 14,6434G sites, reaching a total of 191,536 sites, fully funded from cash Profit of Rs 101,201 million.
Idea also expanded its fibre coverage by doubling its annual rollout to 22,100 KM, up from 11,400 KM in FY15, reaching 115,500 KM of OFC presence. With exponential network coverage and capacity expansion in FY16, Idea GSM coverage has reached nearly 1 billion Indian spread over more than 390,000+ towns & villages. Wireless broadband coverage has expanded to 388 million Indian across 17 circles, covering 61,975 towns & villages. Idea’s own 3G spectrum in 13 service areas today covers 50% of these circles population.