Vodafone at its Half Year FY14 Results Media Conference revealed it has witnessed a strong uptake in the data market with its data user base growing to 42.5 million, of which 4.5 million are 3G customers.
Revenues from data saw a 76.5 percent year on year growth at Rs. 15,419 million, while browsing revenue now account for 9.0 percent of revenues. According to Vodafone, 3G usage/sub are gaining traction at 634 MB/sub in Q2 FY14 as compared to 419 MB/sub in Q2 FY13, a growth of over 51%.
Addressing the conference, Vodafone India CEO Marten Pieters said the company would continue to focus on the data segment, which is future of the business.
Vodafone has also seen a strong growth in voice minutes along with strengthened ARPM at 46.7 paise (H1FY14) vs. 44.0 paise (H1FY13)/ Its Average revenue per user (ARPU) stood at Rs. 200 as the operator continues to focus on quality of subscribers. The active subscriber base.
Vodafone says its Business Services now contributes to around 10% of Vodafone India service revenues. The operator has also launched mobile payment service, M-Pesa, in 10 circles - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar-Jharkhand, Rajasthan, UP East, UP West, Maharashtra & Goa and Assam & North East. The company plans to launch M-Pesa nationwide pretty soon.
“We continue to show a healthy revenue growth driven by price hardening, an exponential growth in data and a solid subscriber base. Our focus on profitable growth has led to a strong margin improvement and to a strong operating free cash flow. We will continue to invest in our future growth areas of democratizing data and driving financial inclusion through M- Pesa,” says Marten Pieters.
Vodafone India CEO Marten Pieters called for transparency in spectrum allocation.
“Vodafone has always asked government for two basic things -- We need more spectrum and allocated in a more transparent way. We want more level-playing field,” he said , while criticising the government's 'ambiguous regulations'.
“We do make progress on both fronts. TRAI came in September with what went wrong in the industry with spectrum allocation and that analysis will hopefully result in more rational spectrum pricing. There'll be an auction in next calendar year. So let's see how it goes. We're waiting for the EGoM to take final decision on this one.”
“...If the government wants more profits from spectrum auction, it should not punish operators that are buying more spectrum because they've more customers and are more successful in the market,” he added.
Intra circle roaming
Vodafone India CEO Marten Pieters expressed concerns over the possible impact of the ongoing tussle over 3G intra-circle roaming.
“Ban on intra-circle roaming arrangement has a substantial impact on us. In the circles where we were using 3G ICR for our customers, we saw a drop of 50 percent of 3G customers in the half year. Since we cannot connect new ones, this will be soon a forgone business,” he remarked.
Vodafone welcomed the Telecom Commission’s decision to ease up the M&A regulations. “We appreciate the relaxation in M&A rules. It will encourage bigger companies like us to participate in M&A activities. But we're still uncertain about the process and lack of clarity about timelines etc,” he added.