SSTL Q3 net loss widens

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL), the CDMA operator that provides telecom services under the 'MTS' brand, has posted a net loss of Rs760 crore in third quarter ended 30 September.

Impacted by foreign exchange losses and restructuring of business, the operator's net loss widened to Rs495 crore posted during the same period a year ago.

The Indian arm of the Russian conglomerate Sistema also posted a dip in revenues to Rs284 crore from Rs404 crore in its third quarter of previous year. The fall in revenues was largely driven by closure of circles.

''During the quarter, we continued to focus on optimising our business in line with our medium term target to turn OIBDA positive by end of 2014. On the regulatory front, though 100 per cent FDI in telecom is a welcome move, we expect the government to provide a clear roadmap for the auction of 800 Mhz spectrum. This is a must for proliferation of data services amongst the masses and also for restoring investor confidence,'' said its Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Shukov.

The blended mobile average revenue per user for the quarter rose  by 6.8 per cent to Rs95 on increase in Minutes of Usage (MoU) following improved quality of customer base. The MoUs rose by 11 per cent to 363 during the quarter.

Non-voice revenues contributed 34.5 per cent of the company's total revenues, while its data card user base rose by 4.5 per cent to 1.21 million during the quarter.

SSTL is also gearing up to launch a slew of smartphones soon. On February 2, 2012, the Supreme Court had cancelled SSTL's 22 licences (of the total 23). It won back eight circles during the spectrum auction held in March 2013.

In the reporting period, SSTL's mobile subscriber base fell by 1.8 per cent from the sequential quarter to reach 9.6 million customers as of September 30. Its mobile subscriber MoU improved to 363 minutes from 328 minutes in Q2, while non-voice revenues, from both data and mobile VAS, fell by 2.2 per cent to Rs 97.9 crore.

''In Q3 2013, our revenues during the quarter declined slightly due to seasonality, however operating parameters like ARPU, MoU continued to improve. Going forward, with the launch of our 3GPlus network, we expect the company to come back to its high growth path,'' said Sergey Savchenko, Chief Financial Officer at SSTL.

Financial Summary: