India’s third largest mobile provider by subscribers, Idea Cellular, has booked strong annual and quarterly growth for the three month period ended 31 March 2015, driven by customer expansion and improvements in ARPU. The cellco registered gross revenue of INR84.23 billion (USD1.33 billion), up 5.1% compared to the previous quarter and an increase of 19.6% year-on-year. EBITDA was up 37.5% y-o-y to INR30.65 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 36.4% compared to 31.6% twelve months earlier. Profit after tax (PAT), meanwhile, increased 22.8% quarter-on-quarter and 59.7% y-o-y to INR9.42 billion.
Idea claimed a total mobile user base of 157.8 million at the end of March 2015, up from 135.8 million in March 2014 and 150.5 million at end-December 2014. Blended monthly ARPU was INR179, up from INR173 a year ago but flat q-o-q, despite falling ARPU for voice services, which reached INR135 – down from INR145 in March 2014. Indeed, Idea is increasingly reliant on data services for revenue generation, with value added services (VAS) representing 24.5% of service revenue in Q4 2015, compared to 16.5% a year earlier, with data services accounting for 16.9% of service revenues (10.9% in Q4 2014). 3G subscriptions totalled 18.7 million as at 31 March 2015 and ARPU for data services (both 2G and 3G) was INR150 in Q4 2015 compared to INR126 in Q3 and INR104 in Q4 2014.