May 24, 2024

Vodafone Idea (Vi) on Thursday reported a net loss of Rs 7,674.6 crore, widening by 19.5 per cent in the fourth quarter (January to March) of financial year 2024 from Rs 6,418.9 crore in the corresponding quarter of financial year 2023 as a result of higher expenses and stalling revenue.

On a sequential basis, the firm’s net loss expanded by 9.85 per cent, up from Rs 6,986 crore in the preceding quarter.

The telco’s finance cost increased to Rs 6,280.3 crore in Q4, shooting up by 25.5 per cent from Rs 6,284 crore in the same quarter of the previous year.

For financial year 2024, net loss expanded to Rs 31,238 crore, up 6.6 per cent from Rs 29,301 crore in financial year 2023.

Revenue Stalling

The telco’s revenue from operations rose by a marginal 0.7 per cent in Q4, coming in at Rs 10,606.8 crore. The average revenue per user (Arpu) for the quarter also rose at a slower clip, rising to Rs 146, up from Rs 145 in Q3. Arpu had stood at Rs 142 and Rs 139 in the preceding two quarters, respectively.

Q4 was the eleventh successive quarter of 4G subscriber additions leading to the Arpu increase, the company said. The 4G subscriber base rose to 126.3 million, up 0.5 per cent from 125.6 million in the preceding quarter. Arpu was up 7.6 per cent on an annual basis. However, the company continued to lose customers to larger rivals, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, ending Q4 with 2.6 million fewer subscribers. However, the rate of churn reduced given that it had lost 4.6 million users in Q3.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to Rs 4,335.8 crore, up 3 per cent from Rs 4,210 crore in Q3FY23.

Large Debt Remains

The total payment obligations to the government stood at Rs 2.34 trillion at the end of Q4, including deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs 1.33 trillion. The company also had an Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) liability of Rs 70,320 crore that is owed to the government. In a major respite for the telco, the debt from banks and financial institutions reduced to Rs 4,040 crore at Q4-end, down from Rs 11,130 crore a year ago.

“Our equity fund raise of Rs 21,500 crore will enable us to kickstart the investment cycle to expand our 4G coverage as well as launch 5G services to effectively participate in the industry growth opportunities. We are engaged with our lenders for tying up debt funding towards the execution of our overall network expansion plan,” Akshaya Moondra, chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The company said the recent equity funding, as well as the upcoming debt funding are to be utilised primarily towards capex which is expected to be Rs 50,000-55,000 crore over the next three years. “The capex will be towards expanding 4G population coverage in 17 priority circles, 5G launch in key cities/geographies and capacity expansion to address the increasing data demand,” it said.

The overall broadband site count stood at 430,700 at the end of Q4, with 917 new 4G sites added over the quarter, the company said.

First Published: May 16 2024 | 8:02 PM IST