Vodafone Idea posted its third consecutive quarterly net loss in the opening period of its fiscal year 2020, as subscriber numbers fell below those reported by rival Reliance Jio.
During its fiscal Q1, Vodafone Idea lost 14.1 million subscribers, leaving it with a base of 320 million.
As Reliance Jio declared 331 million subscribers by end-June, unless Bharti Airtel has made significant gains when it reports on 1 August, Reliance Jio will become the largest operator in the market by the metric.
Year-on-year comparisons are not yet available for Vodafone Idea, which was formed in August 2018, but it has slightly narrowed its losses with each passing quarter.
In the three months to end-June, it posted a loss of INR48.7 billion ($708 million), down from an INR50 billion loss in its fiscal Q3 2019 and INR48.8 billion in fiscal Q4.
Revenue for the recent period was INR113 billion, down from INR117.7 billion in its two previous quarters.
The company blamed its performance on customer churn and “continued down trading of high ARPU customers”.
On a more positive note, Vodafone Idea pointed to the success of the ongoing integration of assets and operations from constituent companies Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
The associated cost synergy programme is said to be on track to meet a target of reducing annual opex by INR84 billion by end-June 2020. In addition to cost savings, by combining network assets it expects consumers to be able to access greater coverage and capacity.
In its results statement, it added: “We believe the improved data speeds will lead to superior customer experience and perception, which should benefit our subscriber additions over time.”