Vodafone Idea revealed talks with potential investors were underway as bosses sought more time to execute a strategy which showed glimpses of progress in the final three months of calendar 2020.

In a statement covering its fiscal Q3 2021, MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar explained the India operator was in “active discussions” regarding fundraising, following board clearance for moves to issue shares up to a value of INR150 billion ($2.1 billion) and debentures totalling no more than INR100 billion.

The Economic Times named a group backed by investment company Oak Hill Advisors as one of the interested parties.

Takkar highlighted “improved subscriber retention and operating performance” from a 4G push as positives during the quarter, pointing to Ookla data which ranked its network as offering India’s fastest data rates and a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India designation of the “highest rated voice quality”.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy, and our cost optimisation plan remains on track”, he added.

Vodafone Idea offloaded its stake in Indus Towers during the period, but used its earnings statement to highlight progress in expanding its 4G network, with around 12,000 FDD sites added “primarily through refarming of 2G/3G spectrum”, the latter of which it began “aggressively” repurposing in fiscal Q2.

Comprehensive net loss of INR45.4 billion was down from INR64.5 billion in fiscal Q3 2020, with revenue falling INR2 billion to INR108.9 billion. It closed the period with 109.7 million 4G subscribers, compared with 104 million.