Plain vanilla Wireless Operator, Idea Cellular reported a strong Financial Year 2014 with subscribers base touching 135.8 Mn. Idea Voice traffic grew 8.6% qoq and 9.5% yoy to 157.1 bn minutes. MOU for the quarter was 397 mins/sub/month, +5.6% qoq but down 2.1% yoy. Strong voice volume growth, after three quarters of sub-par numbers on this metric, was encouraging, and validated Idea’s aggressive 2G network expansion in the past two quarters. Voice RPM Down Overall RPM came in at 43.6 paise/min, down 3% qoq, but up 5.8% yoy. After three quarters of strong RPM improvement, decline in RPM was surprising, especially given the continued discount reduction push by the industry.
Idea Cellular Mobile Data Subscribers & Revenues
Total mobile data subscribers at the end of Mar-2014 stood at 25.3 mn, representing 18% of its total subs base. Idea further tightened its definition of an active data subscriber to one who uses at least 1MB of data over a 30 day period (up from 100 KB earlier) Data usage per sub was 410 MB/month on a revised data subs base. Data usage per sub was a strong 300 MB per month for 2G subs. Reported usage per sub for 3G subs was 462 MB. Total 3G Subscribers was at 10.2 Mn (7.5% of the subscriber Base)
Data revenues grew 12% qoq and 78% yoy to Rs 6.9 bn. Data now accounts for 10.1% of Idea’s wireless revenues. Growth was led by 31% qoq and 139% yoy growth in data volumes. Data revenue per MB dipped 14.5% qoq to 25.3 paise. Decline is largely on account of increased adoption of high usage packs, which have lower effective realization. We have of course, also seen aggressive pricing of data plans as operators look to capture a bigger share of the fast growing data market. 3G data volumes and revenues grew 38% qoq. 3G data formed 46% of total data revenues and 48% of total data volumes for the quarter. The 3G user mobile data ARPU is steady at Rs. 111 per month.
Total Number of 3G Cell Sites is just 20% of the 2G sites and the lower number can also be attributed to the fact that Idea does not have 3G cellular operating licenses on a PAN India basis.
CAPEX – Idea Cellular intends to spend Rs 3,500 Cr on the Network in FY 2015 excluding Spectrum related payouts. The management acknowledges about the 1800Mhz spectrum availability for 4G-LTE but adds will look forward to the same on consumer demand and technology stabilization.