Telecom operator Idea Cellular continued to bleed in the sixth straight quarter as its consolidated loss widened to Rs 930.6 crore in the three-month period ended March 31, mainly on account of continued hyper competition and regulatory headwinds.
The company had posted a loss of Rs 325.6 crore in the same period previous fiscal. Idea had reported first ever consolidated loss of Rs 383.87 crore in the October-December 2016 period.
The operating revenue dropped 24.47 per cent to Rs 6,137.3 crore in the March quarter of FY18. The performance of the company, however, improved on sequential quarter basis. Idea registered a loss of Rs 1,285.6 crore in October-December 2017.
The loss for the full fiscal swelled to Rs 4,139.9 crore from Rs 404 crore in 2016-17. Revenue from operations came in at Rs 28,278.9 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 36,676.8 crore in the previous fiscal. The company blamed hyper competition and high regulatory headwinds for aggravating the industry’s financial stress.
“The Trai led regulation changes including reduction of domestic Mobile Termination Charge from 14 paisa to 6 paisa per minute and International mobile termination’ settlement charges from 53 paisa to 30 paisa per minute further aggravated the financial stress for the existing industry operators,” Idea Cellular said in a post-earnings statement.
Despite increase in voice and data traffic on its network, Idea recorded 26 per cent dip in average revenue per user to Rs 105 in the reported quarter from Rs 142 a year ago.
Idea registered rise in voice usage per subscriber to 577 minutes, broadband data usage per subscriber to 7 GB from 1.4 GB on year-on-year basis. The company saw record wireless broadband data subscriber addition of 15.1 million in 2017-18.
The net debt of the company as on March 31, 2018 stood at Rs 52,330 crore. The company expects the debt to reduce significantly with monetisation of its stake in Indus Towers and completion of sale of its standalone mobile towers to America Tower Corporations.
Giving an update on its merger with Vodafone, Idea Cellular said the process is in the final stages and is expected to be completed by June 2018.
“The merger of Idea and Vodafone India is in the final leg of regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in H1CY18,” it said.
Established operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are in the midst of a bruising tariff war following the entry of Reliance Jio backed by India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani.
Reliance Jio’s free voice and dirt-cheap data offering have dented the financial metrics of incumbent operators, deepening the impact of regulatory decisions like cut in termination charges.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.