Vodafone India service revenues up 12.6%

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on May 19, 2015

Sunil Sood (left), MD & CEO, Vodafone India; with Thomas Reisten, CFO, at a press conference in New Delhi. - KAMAL NARANG

Customer additions, higher data usage add to earnings; telecom giant banks on 4G roll-out

Vodafone’s Indian unit delivered a strong performance in the year to March against global operations, which saw revenues down by 1.6 per cent.

However, in the fourth quarter, global service revenues returned to growth – up 0.1 per cent – for the first time in several years, buoyed by the emerging market performance and signs of stabilisation in European markets.

Nevertheless, the company warned of delays to its arbitration proceedings against the Indian Government under the bilateral trade agreement with the Netherlands, following the resignation of the Government’s appointed arbitrator in May.

A third arbitrator, who was to be the Chair of the tribunal, also declined to accept the appointment. “There is now likely to be a delay in appointing the chairman pending the Indian government appointing a replacement for its party-appointed arbitrator,” Vodafone said, reiterating that it continued to make no provisions for the litigation.

“It is normal for arbitration proceedings to take time in India. Discussions remain amicable,” said a London-based spokesperson for Vodafone.

If there was no agreement, the International Court of Justice would appoint a third arbitrator, it said.

3G investments

Vodafone has been investing heavily across markets as it seeks to increase its presence in the face of stiff competition.

The company spent ₹2,581 billion on acquiring spectrum in 12 telecom circles in March, and expanded its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, which now has a customer based of 3.1 million.

“Voice yields were relatively flat after a period of improvement, but we saw a decline in average minutes use in H2, as competition increased in some circles,” it added.

Globally it said it expects growth to continue in emerging markets and Europe, where only 13 per cent of its mobile customers use 4G services, and where its fixed services business was just a fraction of its share of mobile.

Our Delhi Bureau adds: Vodafone India has sought clarity on norms for auctions, mergers & acquisitions, spectrum sharing and merging.

“We expect the Centre to give a fair framework for the future auctions,” Sunil Sood, MD and CEO, Vodafone India, said while sharing the company’s financial results for the fiscal 2014-15.

Sood said the Centre should maximise the amount of spectrum to be auctioned so that players can provide high speed broadband.

Vodafone India on Tuesday reported an operating profit at ₹12,605 crore for the fiscal 2014-15 up from ₹10,847 crore in the previous fiscal.

The operating free cash flow was ₹3,228 crore for 2014-15 compared with ₹7,647 crore in previous fiscal on account of higher capital expenditure and IRU settlement with Indus.

The net debt for the company now stands at ₹47,807 crore as on March 31, 2015.

It reported a 12.6 per cent jump in total revenue at ₹42,526 crore for 2014-15 against ₹37,777 crore in 2013-14, on the back of healthy data growth and customer additions.

The telecom company’s revenue from data-browsing soared 65.5 per cent at ₹5,690 crore in 2014-15, against ₹3,437 crore in the previous fiscal. “3G revenues grew 140 per cent year-on-year contributing to over 53 per cent to data (browsing) revenue and volume,” Sood said.

India business

Today, the India business is the largest within the Vodafone Group in terms of data traffic, having beaten Germany. Vodafone India has 183.8 million mobile customers, out of which 19.4 million are 3G users.

On 4G roll-out plans, he said, “We are conducting 4G trials as we speak. We will be rolling out during that latter half of the year in select towns.” Vodafone has bought 4G spectrum in five circles. Maintaining that the company was in favour of net neutrality, pro-choice, pro-OTT and app developers, Sood said, “We are also pro-net equality and we believe that there cannot be any discrimination. The same service should have the same rules.”

Published on May 19, 2015
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