Vodafone India service revenue up 6.2% in H1; to launch 4G in five circles starting Dec

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Vodafone India, the country’s second-largest mobile operator, said that its service revenue stood at Rs 21,883 crores in the six months ended September 2015, a growth of 6.2%, on the back of customer base growth and strong demand for 3G data services.

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“We continue to deliver healthy double digit underlying revenue growth of 11.2% and further enhanced EBITDA margin to 29.7%. Driven by the strong uptake in data, our 3G revenues grew 102% YoY,” Sunil Sood, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone India said.

Vodafone’s service revenue for the first half of 2015 stood at Rs 20,601 crores. The telco’s data revenue stood at Rs 3,979 crores in the first half, up 55.9% on a yearly basis. It said that strong uptake of data continues with 42.6 million data users with greater than 1MB usage.

3G revenues grew by 102% on yearly basis, contributing to over 62% to data revenue and volume. Data usage and revenue growth led by higher smartphone penetration at 28.3% of total customer base, growth of around 57% on yearly basis. The company’s service revenue ARPU however declined by 2.7% at Rs 197 in the first half of the ongoing financial year.

Vodafone India now has a base of 188.2 million customers–growth of 8.2% year-on-year basis–serviced through a network of 132,446 total sites, of which 39,774 are 3G sites. It also has a substantial rural presence with a customer base of over 99 million in H1FY16, 53% of total customer base.

Vodafone India posted 75% growth in 3G users to 23.8 million at the end of September from 13.6 million in September 2014, reflecting the focus on 3G.
The telco said it is driving data usage through strategic partnerships with handset manufacturers and application providers to provide innovative value propositions and better customer experience.

Sood added that the telco will launch our 4G services beginning December 2015 in 5 circles that are key to its data revenues and will continue to expand own 3G coverage to 16 circles across the country. “Robust and resilient network architecture with strong backhaul is being built to support the increasing volumes and need for speed from both retail and enterprise customers,” he added.
Vodafone also said that it had started preparations to float its Indian unit as it reported a return to earnings growth for the group as a whole in the first half. “We have recently begun preparations for a potential IPO of Vodafone India, subject to market conditions,” it said.

EBITDA stood at Rs 6,534 crores in the H1FY16, against Rs 6,121 crores in H1FY15; a healthy EBITDA margin at 29.7%, led by higher data revenue and scale benefits. During the first half, the telco made sustained capital investments of Rs 3,627 crores in–16.5% of revenues–driven by significant investments in new site roll-out to deliver superior customer experience and growth in key focus areas.

Vodafone Business Services (VBS), the enterprise arm of the telco, now has over 7 million mobility customers in India. VBS is growing at double the industry growth on a yearly basis, led by strong growth in fixed line and in SME business. It is making strong foray into Machine-to-Machine solutions and investing in Cloud Infrastructure. The company said that VBS is actively engaged with Public Sector Enterprises and State Governments contributing to the vision of Digital India and setting up of smart cities.

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