Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest operator, connected over 680,000 4G subscribers and reported a 13 per cent rise in Q4 consolidated revenue to INR95 billion ($1.4 billion), but its net profit tumbled 39 per cent to INR5.76 billion.
The operator had rolled out its 4G network to 4,000 towns and villages by the end of March, covering 116 million inhabitants, or 21 per cent of the population. The service debuted last December.
In addition, Idea continued its 3G expansion over the past year and it reported 3G data volumes two times higher in the year to end-March 2016 than FY2015.
Asked by the Electronic Times how Idea proposed to lure more data customers, managing director Himanshu Kapania pointed to how 23 million Idea subscribers have upgraded to smartphones that support 3G or 4G during the last financial year.
“Only 11 million of them are actually using broadband services. Out of Idea’s total base, 60 million users have smartphones but only 22 million use 3G or 4G platforms. Idea’s focus will be to convert the rest of these customers,” he said.
The company also reported INR360 billion in full-year revenue, an increase of 14 per cent over FY 2015. It claims to be growing at more than two times the rate for the mobile industry as a whole.
However, full-year profit fell by 3.5 per cent to INR31billion. The company reported an increase in depreciation and amortisation costs, as well as Interest & Finance Cost, during the year, which reflected additional charges, including from renewing existing licences in seven circles, launch of 4G in 10 circles and its ongoing 3G rollout.