Vodafone Idea Q3 results: Net loss narrows to Rs 6,438.8 crore

Vodafone Idea posted a Rs 6,438.8 crore loss in the quarter ended 30 Dec from a net loss of Rs 50,922 crore in the September quarter.Vodafone Idea’s consolidated revenue from operations rose to Rs 11,089 crore in the December quarter from Rs 10,844 crore in the September quarter

Vodafone Idea Ltd has posted a net loss of Rs6,438.8 crore, amid a brutal price war unleashed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd that has ravaged its rivals and reshaped India’s telecom market.

The Mumbai-based operator posted a Rs6,438.8 crore loss in the quarter ended 30 December from a net loss of Rs50,922 crore in the September quarter, the company said on Thursday.

Vodafone Idea’s consolidated revenue from operations rose to Rs11,089 crore in the December quarter from Rs10,844 crore in the September quarter.

“We remain focused on rapid network integration as well as 4G coverage and capacity expansion in our key markets. We now lead the league tables on 4G data download speeds across several states, metros and large cities. We believe this is leading to improved customer experience which has contributed to robust 4G subscriber additions. As a result, after several quarters of pressure on topline, we witnessed consistent revenue turnaround from September onwards i.e. before the recent price hikes,” Vodafone Idea chief executive officer Ravinder Takkar said in a statement.

“The tariff increase effective December should further help in improving revenue performance going forward. We are currently on track to deliver our opex synergy targets by April-June,” Takkar said.

Vodafone Idea’s results come three weeks after the apex court agreed to hear its petition to modify the court’s 24 October order that made the company liable to pay over Rs50,000 crore of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues by 23 January.

Apart from Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Tata Teleservices have also filed pleas to seek more time to pay AGR related dues. The telcos want to negotiate a sustainable payment schedule with the department of telecommunications (DoT), which has issued demand notices worth over Rs1 trillion for revenue share, interest, and penalty.

Ending a 14-year court battle, the Supreme Court on 24 October upheld the government’s broader definition of revenue, on which it calculates levies on telecom operators, dealing a body blow to the telecom industry, which is already burdened with falling tariffs and mounting debt.

Last week, the UK-based Vodafone Group Plc had said that the outlook for Vodafone Idea, its telecom joint venture with the Aditya Birla group in India, remains critical and the company is seeking relief from the Indian government.

“In October, the Supreme Court gave an adverse judgement in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case against the industry. The outlook for Vodafone Idea remains critical,” Vodafone Group said in a statement announcing its December quarter earnings on 5 February.

“The company is actively seeking various forms of relief from the Indian government to ensure that the rate and level of payments it makes to the Indian government is sustainable and it can meet its other commitments as they fall due,” the group had then said.

In December, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said that the group’s telecom unit, Vodafone Idea, will have to shut shop if there was no relief from the government following the AGR verdict.

Vodafone Idea, meanwhile, in its modification plea to the court said it does not have the resources to pay such huge amounts. As such, if suitable payment terms are not made available, it will lead to the immediate closure of one of the largest and oldest telecom companies in India, causing disruption to 300 million subscribers and putting lakhs of jobs at risk, its petition said.

The court is likely to hear the modification pleas on Friday.


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