Vodafone Idea integration moving at a fast pace

Vodafone Idea network integration is moving at a fast pace and customers of both brands are benefiting from a unified network experience in ten circles.

Circles such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, North East, J&K, Bihar and Punjab along with part of the Delhi circle (East NCR) is benefiting following the consolidation of spectrum and the radio access network.

Post integration, the capacity in these circles has increased by around 34% QoQ, leading to improved Net Promoter Score and higher download speeds.

The company is also offering a unified 4G experience in Bangalore and Orissa. In other circles, network integration is progressing on a cluster-by-cluster basis and subscribers of both the brands are gradually moving to a network with greater coverage and capacity. Further, the company has enhanced capabilities of some of their 900 MHz sites to provide 4G service through dynamic spectrum refarming in the service areas of Kerala and Delhi.

Due to network integration, the company has removed surplus equipment on 24,000 sites out of the total 67,000 co-located sites. Additionally, the company has also exited around 9,900 low utilization sites. Both initiatives have yielded significant cost savings for the company.

On the operational side, the company has already completed the integration of distributors, retailers, service stores and service centres. The company has also signed a multi-year agreement with IBM for deployment of future-fit technologies including cloud, advanced analytics and business Intelligence to enhance the company’s digital transformation and deliver further cost savings.

The company is on track to deliver Rs. 8,400 crore of targeted run-rate costs synergies by FY21, two years ahead of the initial target set at the time of the merger announcement in March 2017.

Balesh Sharma, CEO Vodafone Idea said, “We are pleased with the rapid progress we have made to deliver on our stated strategy. The initiatives we have taken since the merger are yielding positive results and we are well on track to deliver our synergy targets two years early. We remain focused on fortifying our position in key profitable districts by expanding coverage and capacity of our 4G network, targeting higher share of new 4G customers by offering an enhanced network experience, whilst also improving cash flows through cost transformation.”

The company has added 8,915 4G TDD sites during the quarter to augment capacity and deployed massive MIMO on around 2,000 sites in select key locations. The 4G population coverage has reached 65% as of March 31, 2019, compared to less than 50% for each of the brands in August 2018.

During the quarter, Vodafone Idea has added 5.4 million 4G customers, taking the overall 4G subscriber base to 80.7 million. Total data volumes grew by 9% to 2,947 billion MB compared to the last quarter and the average daily data volume increased by 11.4% (32.7 billion MB in Q4 vs 29.4 billion MB in Q3).

Revenue for the quarter was Rs. 11,780 crore, up 0.1% QoQ, lower than the ADR (Average Daily Revenue) growth due to fewer days in Q4FY19. EBITDA increased by 57% QoQ to Rs. 17.9 billion. EBITDA normalised for one-offs stands at Rs. 15.9 billion. The company has shown a net loss of Rs. 4,882 crore in Q4FY19.

Gross debt as on March 31, 2019 was Rs. 125,940 crore, including deferred spectrum payment obligations due to the government of Rs. 90,680 crore.

Vodafone Idea successfully closed India’s largest rights issue, raising Rs. 25,000 crore of equity. The company is also exploring options to monetize over 158,000 Km of intra-city and inter-city fibre.


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