Indian cellco Vodafone Idea (Vi) has booked a net loss of INR71.45 billion (USD960 million) for the three months to end-September 2021, narrowing its losses from INR73.13 billion in the preceding quarter and INR72.03 billion in the year-ago period. Gross revenue for the quarter was up by 2.8% quarter-on-quarter to INR94.06 billion whilst EBITDA grew by 4.2% q-o-q to INR38.63 billion. Vi claimed a total of 253.0 million mobile subscriptions as at 30 September 2021, down from 255.4 million three months earlier and 271.8 million in September 2020. Of that total, however, 4G subscriptions accounted for 116.2 million, up from 112.8 million q-o-q and 106.1 million year-on-year. Vi attributed the improved penetration of 4G subscriptions to its ongoing network development works, noting that it had added around 10,800 FDD-LTE sites during the period through the refarming of 2G/3G spectrum – including the shutting down of roughly 9,600 3G sites – and by the end of September 2021 its combined 3G/4G site total stood at 450,481 (447,114 in June 2021).
The cellco also confirmed that it has decided to take the option to defer for up to four years its spectrum and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues, offered by the government as part of the industry reform and support package introduced in September this year. Vi CEO Ravinder Takkar was quoted as saying of the matter: ‘We welcome the government’s landmark reform package which addresses several industry concerns and provides immediate relief to the financial stress in the sector. We also appreciate the Government’s recognition of the telecom sector’s contribution in keeping the country connected during the pandemic. During the last quarter, we witnessed a recovery in our operating momentum as the economy has started to gradually open up aided by the ongoing rapid vaccination drive.’