Idea Cellular misses estimates, posts marginally lower net profit

Idea Cellular, India's third-largest mobile operator by subscribers, has missed analysts' estimates for the third-quarter ended 31 December posting a flat net profit.

The Aditya Birla group company posted a consolidated net profit at Rs764.21 crore for the reporting quarter, compared with a net profit of Rs767.06 crore for the same quarter a year ago.

During the quarter under review, the company's total income rose to Rs8,988.73 crore, as against Rs8070.81 crore posted during the comparative year-ago third quarter.

On a standalone basis, the GSM operator posted a net profit of Rs764.21 crore (Rs767.06 crore) on a total income of Rs9,040.48 crore (Rs8,150.09 crore), Idea Cellular said in a regulatory filing.

The company added 29.7 million incremental subscribers (on visitor location registry) in the calendar year 2015, now increasing its total customer base to 182 million.

In a statement, Idea Cellular said that long-term business trends remain robust as standalone revenue for the quarter has grown by 12.4 per cent (16.4 per cent post normalisation of Interconnnect User Charges settlement change) of Rs 9,008.9 crore against Rs 8,014.8 crore in the third quarter of FY15.

The factors driving revenue growth were volume led including YoY expansion of voice minutes at 16.7 per cent to 199.2 billion minutes and mobile data (2G/3G/4G) at 75.8 per cent to 81.0 billion MB, in Q3FY16.

However, YoY decline in voice realised rate at 10.6 per cent (including IUC impact) and mobile data realised rate at 17.2 per cent, depressed overall gross revenue growth.

In December 2015, the expired 900 MHz spectrum (1995-2015 licenses) for seven established service areas was replaced with new 900 MHz liberalised spectrum won in March 2015 spectrum auction (spectrum in remaining two service areas of Karnataka and Punjab would be replaced with new 900 MHz liberalised spectrum in April 2016), it added.

In December, Idea launched its own 3G services in Kolkata metro service area, extending own 3G coverage to 13th circle. Also, in the same month, company launched its 4G services in four south Indian telecom service areas.