Even as India’s third-largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea continues with its efforts to raise funds, its chairman Ravinder Takkar has said the operating challenges remain for the company.
The statement assumes significance given that Vodafone Idea has been losing mobile subscribers and market share to competitors Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. Further, analysts also flagged concerns over the company’s survival once the government’s moratorium ends in FY26.
“While the operating challenges remain, the increasing digital penetration, increasing content consumption, especially through video and social media usage and increasing e-commerce, is driving strong demand for high-speed mobile broadband connectivity for internet,” Takkar said in the company’s annual report for FY23.
Takkar further said, “Vodafone Idea with its strong spectrum portfolio, large network investments in the form of network sites and optical fiber, wide distribution reach and strong customer affinity is well positioned to recover and benefit in the long term.”
In FY23, Vodafone Idea lost 17.9 million subscribers, taking its subscriber base to 225.9 million at the end of March. Of the total subscriber base, the company’s 4G subscribers rose 4.5 million in FY23 to 122.6 million.
“Vodafone Idea continues to focus on execution of its stated strategy. The company will remain focused on providing superior data and voice experience…as well as continue to make
investments for expanding 4G coverage and capacity especially in its 17 priority circles,” Takkar said, adding that the company will introduce 5G services once the funding is in place.
The company said it has made 5G clusters in Delhi and Pune where it partnered with various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to test comparability of 5G handsets.
Vodafone Idea’s board earlier approved a fundraise plans of `25,000 crore. In the last financial year, Vodafone Idea’s promoter group invested further Rs 440 crore in the company, taking the total fund infusion to `4,940 crore between March 2022 and June 2022.
“Following the conversion of interest (worth Rs 16,133 crore) by the government, the company has reinitiated fundraising efforts with new vigor, which will enable it to achieve its strategic intent,” the company said in its annual report.
During the last financial year ended March, Vodafone Idea increased the average remuneration of employees excluding key managerial personnel by 8%. The average increase in the remuneration of key managerial personnel was 8.4%.
Vodafone Idea also increased the median remuneration of the employees by 4% to Rs 1.2 million.
The company’s former chief financial officer (CFO) Akshaya Moondra, who is the current CEO witnessed an 8% increase in salary in the last financial year in his role as CFO. Moondra was elevated to the CEO role in August last year. In total, Moondra drew a salary of a total Rs 6.17 crore in FY23.
Total permanent employee count of the company rose to 9,226 at the end of March 2023 from 8,760 at the end of March 2022.
Owing to salary hikes, employee cost of the company rose 7.6% to Rs 1,866 crore in FY23.
In FY23, the company’s revenue from operations rose 9.5% to Rs 42,177 crore for the Financial Year ended. Vodafone Idea’s loss expanded to Rs 29,301 crore from Rs 28,245 crore. Financial Express