Vodafone India revenue up 6.3%; global turnover dips on euro mess

Vodafone India, the country's second largest mobile telephony company by both revenues and subscribers, Thursday reported a 6.3% growth in revenues, as the British company's Indian subsidiary connected 2.7 million new subscribers and its minutes of usage (or time subscribers spent talking) rose by 4%.

"Service revenue grew by 20%, driven by an increase in the customer base, continued growth in incoming and outgoing voice minutes and 46.4% growth in data revenue," said Vodafone in a media statement.

"Whilst the market remains highly competitive, the effective rate per minute increased slightly compared to September 2011 following the penetration of recent price rises into the customer base," the statement added. Service revenue, the company said, represents year-on-year organic growth, which presents performance on a comparable basis, both in terms of merger and acquisition activity and movements in foreign exchange rates.

"The company has performed better than Bharti Airtel but weaker than Idea Cellular," said an analyst with a foreign brokerage. "The performance also reiterates the fact that price increase should be supported by increase in volumes to show topline growth." Mobile telephony companies in June had hiked tariffs by 20% for the first time in a decade after intense price war to gain subscribers.

Revenues for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, of the company, which sold 11% stake to pharma major Piramal Healthcare over the last six months, stood at £1,024 million or R8,013.8 crore as against £963 million or R7,536.4 crore a year ago, up 6.3%. Unitl 31 December, the company' had 31.2 m data customers out of a total 147.7 million subscribers.

Churn rate (the rate at which customers switch to a competitor in telecommunication parlance) increased sequentially to 69.2%. Vodafone, which emerged victorious in the long drawn tax battle with income tax authorities, grew its minutes on the network for the quarter to 133,220 million minutes. Its average revenue per user was up 3% to R173 from R168 in last quarter.

On a group level, Vodafone reported revenue decreased by 2.3% to £11.6 billion and expects to continue to face challenging market conditions.

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