Vodafone Idea (Vi) is claiming that because of the deployment of additional spectrum to increase capacity and new sites added in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana, users there would experience 2x faster speeds. But is it going to make a positive difference for the company? First of all, let's see what Vi has said it has done in the last year in the two circles. Vi announced that it had deployed additional 1800 MHz spectrum on all 11000 sites in the two states. Then, the telco also added 660 new sites and added capacity to the existing 6201 sites. Vi deployed additional 2500 MHz spectrum on 3000 sites. The telco said that third-party network audit certification and customer experience measurement validator ValuConnex has certified that Vi GIGAnet delivered 2x faster speeds after the deployment of additional spectrum. The speed audit was carried out in Oct 2021 and Sept 2022.
Is Delivering Faster Speeds Enough for Vodafone Idea?
Delivering faster speeds is apparently not enough for Vodafone Idea. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telco lost subscribers in the Andhra Pradesh circle between Sept 2022 (12491955) and Oct 2022 (12300968). In fact, the telco has been losing subscribers for more than 12 months if you see the data between Sept 2021 and Oct 2022.
So despite delivering faster speeds, the telco has not made any significant positive impact on its business. According to Opensignal's October 2022 report for India, Vi was behind Airtel and Jio in the 4G coverage and 4G availability department. Then, Vi's networks were also behind in some of the key experience areas of customers, such as video and gaming. Just faster download and upload speeds don't make up the entire experience for the customers.
AP and Telangana is not the first circle where Vi has added extra capacity to its networks in the last few years. It is an exercise by the telco to ensure that customers know it is delivering 2x faster speeds. But that doesn't necessarily convert into a 2x better experience for the customers. Yes, faster speeds do make a difference. But the point is, it is not all that a customer wants. If that were the case, Vi wouldn't have been losing customers in the Andhra Pradesh circle.
Further, Vi has not mentioned the average speeds discovered by the auditor during the speed tests. The telco is in desperate need of funding right now, and nothing seems to be going its way. Vodafone Idea's shares closed 2.76% in the red on Monday. The closing price was Rs 7.05. The telco's stock price reflects the dark position it is in.