Vodafone Idea Limited has finally released financial and operational results for the quarter that ended on December 31, 2019. Similar to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea's overall 4G user base saw an increase of 8.3 million in the quarter to 104.2 million. However, the telco has slipped to the third position below Bharti Airtel with an overall subscriber base of just 304 million. Reliance Jio is currently the largest telecom operator when it comes to the user base. The struggling telco also reported its revenue has seen an increase of 2.3% thanks to healthy 4G additions in the quarter. Sadly, Vodafone Idea's Average Revenue per User is still on the lower end at Rs 109 as opposed to over Rs 130 reported by Airtel and Jio.
Vodafone Idea 4G User Base Increased to 104.2 Million
In Q3 FY20, Vodafone Idea has added 8.3 million new 4G customers which took the overall subscriber base to 104.2 million. Still, the telco's 4G base is lower than that of Airtel and Jio. The overall subscriber base of the operator declined to 304 million in Q3 from 311 million in Q2 FY20. ARPU for Q3 improved to Rs 109 vs Rs 107 in Q2 FY20 supported by improved customer mix. In December 2019, Vodafone Idea was the first to increase prepaid tariff prices, but the telco believes the tariff increase has a limited impact on Q3 FY20 results.
Besides, Vodafone Idea says it will continue to invest in 4G to increase coverage and capacity. During the quarter, Vodafone Idea added nearly 14,600 4G FDD sites which is the telco's highest addition in a single quarter since the merger. It also deployed close to 58,200 TDD sites in addition to deployment of around 11,400 Massive MIMO till date. "We are making progress in implementing LTE 900 in select locations, including through dynamic spectrum refarming, to improve customer experience," said Vodafone Idea in a press release. Vodafone Idea's overall broadband site count stood at 417,361 in Q3 compared to 405,346 in Q2 FY20.
As for the data usage, it grew by 8.5% to 3,790 billion MB compared to last quarter. Total minutes on the network declined by 1% during the quarter, due to a reduction in incoming minutes while outgoing minutes witnessed strong growth added Vodafone Idea.
Vodafone Idea Saw a Revenue Turnaround With Growth of 2.3%
Moving onto the financial highlights, Vodafone Idea's revenue for the quarter was Rs 110.9 billion which is an increase of 2.3% QoQ, primarily due to the strong 4G additions driving ARPU improvement. Gross debt (excluding lease liabilities) as of December 31, 2019, was Rs 1,158.5 billion, including deferred spectrum payment obligations due to the Government of Rs 885.3 billion, said the telco.
As for the integration update, Vodafone Idea says it's progressing well and is expected to complete by Q1 FY21. As of December 31, 2019, Vodafone Idea network integration has been completed in 86% of total districts. Integration of Uttar Pradesh (East), Gujarat and Delhi circles was completed in January 2020, taking the integrated circles count to 17, and in the remaining five circles, integration continues in a cluster-by-cluster approach.
Vodafone Idea is also hit by the integration of network as subscribers as facing a lot of issues which is making them leave the network and join Bharti Airtel or Reliance Jio.