Losses widen for RCOM amidst price war

31 May 2017

Indian wireless provider Reliance Communications (RCOM) has reported a 24.3% year-on-year drop in consolidated total revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter (ended 31 March 2017), alongside a 10.8% fall in turnover for the full year, as the price war initiated by the launch of a new competitor in September 2016 severely hampered the operator’s business. The cellco reported a top line figure of INR45.2 billion (USD699.2 million) for Q4 16/17, and INR199.5 billion for the full year, whilst EBITDA for the quarter nearly halved y-o-y from INR20.0 billion to INR10.8 billion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, net losses for the three-month period were INR9.7 billion, widening from a loss of INR5.3 billion in the preceding quarter and reversing from a net profit of INR897 million in Q4 15/16.

RCOM reported y-o-y and quarter-on-quarter declines across almost all of its key performance indicator (KPI) metrics, registering a net loss of nearly 20 million users in its wireless subscriber base, which fell from 103.6 million March 2016 to 84.7 million a year later. Blended ARPU dropped to INR141 from INR154 in Q3 16/17 and INR157 in Q4 15/16 as a result of the intensifying price competition in the market. Similarly, lower tariffs for voice services saw ARPU in that segment dip to INR87 from INR107 twelve months earlier, though usage increased to an average of 408 minutes per customer per month, from 329. In the data space, meanwhile, RCOM reported a loss of more than ten million data users, counting a total of 28.3 million subscribers at the end of March 2017, compared to 38.9 million a year earlier. Similarly, its 3G and 4G subscriber base dropped from 24.2 million at 31 March 2016 to 23.4 million in December that year, before accelerating to reach 20.8 million at end-March 2017.

India, Reliance Communications (RCOM)