Vodafone Idea (Vi), the third-largest telecom operator in India, has received a sweet ending for 2023. The telco's shares jumped a remarkable 21% on the last trading day on December 29, 2023, to reach the Rs 16 price point. Compared to this, at the start of 2023, Vi's shares were trading at Rs 8. This marks a 100% YoY growth.
What caused the stock to trigger towards a 52-week high price is unknown. Vi hasn't announced any fundraising plans nor has it said anything about the 5G launch. The fundraising that the telco's management said was expected to be concluded by December was delayed eventually. Even after more than a year of acquiring the 5G spectrum, Vi's 5G launch timeline is unknown.
As per the monthly performance report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Vi added active subscribers during September 2023. This was the first time in years that Vi added active wireless users. The telco has been losing its market share to private competitors including Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. In August, Vi's active wireless subscriber base eventually came below the 200 million mark.
The telco was reportedly looking to sell its fiber assets and in-building solutions (IBS) to raise funds in the short term. The said move could fetch Vi about Rs 10,000-12,000 crore. It would be enough for the telecom operator to pay off dues in the short term and also give orders to the vendors for commercial 5G equipment.
Vi must make the effort to launch 5G networks in 2024 otherwise it is going to lose out on the market share even heavily during 2024 to competitors. It will be interesting to see how the telco performed in the December quarter of 2023. Vi's total debt still exceeds 2 lakh crore and how much of it is added during Q3 FY24 will be a key stat to look into.