New Delhi: Beating larger rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd, Vodafone Group Plc’s India revenue grew nearly 14% to £767 million (Rs5,622.7 crore) for the quarter ended December.
In the same period a year earlier, Vodafone’s India revenue was £674 million.
Vodafone said in its third quarter earnings report released in London on Thursday that the India numbers “present performance on a comparable basis, both in terms of merger and acquisition activity and foreign exchange rates”.
The world’s second largest telecom firm ended 2009 with 313.78 million telecom subscribers, of which 91.4 million were from India.
Going strong: A cellphone store in Faridabad, Haryana. Of Vodafone’s 313.78 million subscribers worldwide, India accounted for 91.4 million. Rajkumar / Mint
“India’s service revenue increased by 13.8%, half (6.9%) of which was delivered by the network sharing joint venture Indus Towers,” the firm stated in its report.
The remaining growth was “driven by a 51.0% increase in average mobile customers and a 35.1% increase in voice usage. This was offset in part by declining average voice rates”, it added.
India registered the second highest amount of churn (38%) compared with Vodafone’s other markets.
An analyst in Mumbai said on condition of anonymity that the intense tariff war among India’s telecom operators has taken its toll on Vodafone.
“On a quarterly basis (over the second quarter), their revenues have risen by 9% and their Ebitda margin is at around 24%, while their Arpu has fallen 6%,” he said. “Traffic growth has been healthy but their margins are the lowest in the pack (among India’s telecom firms).”
Arpu is short for average revenue per user, a key measure for telecom firms. Ebitda is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Third quarter revenue for Bharti rose 1.4% to Rs9,772.2 crore, but dropped 9.2% to Rs5,309.7 crore for Reliance Communications.
Bharti and Reliance Communications are India’s top two phone firms by subscribers, respectively.
Vodafone’s quarter sales for the entire group rose 10.3% to £11.5 billion.
Its service revenue in the Asia-Pacific region and West Asia, excluding currency swings and acquisitions, grew 10.4%, driven by a 45.7% rise in its average mobile customer base and strong data revenue. India contributed around 75% of the region’s organic service revenue growth.
This growth in emerging markets made up for the decline in Europe, where the company generates more than 60% of its sales.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.