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Vi posts smaller-than-expected loss on 4G user boost, Q3FY24

Vodafone Idea India’s third-largest telecom operator, reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Monday, as it added more 4G users.

Consolidated loss after tax was 69.86 billion rupees ($840.4 million) for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of 79.90 billion rupees a year earlier.

Analysts, on an average, had expected a loss of 76.14 billion rupees, according to LSEG data.

Revenue rose 0.5% to 106.73 billion rupees, missing analysts’ expectation of 110.16 billion rupees.

Vodafone Idea, formed by a merger between the Indian arm of UK’s Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group’s Idea Cellular in 2018, has posted a loss in every quarter as it lost ground to rivals Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio amid a brutal price war.

The debt-saddled company has been in talks for several months with lenders and investors to raise funds.

While larger rivals Airtel and Jio have already rolled out their 5G services in most parts of the country, Vodafone Idea has yet to launch its own 5G network.

Its gross debt was 2.15 trillion rupees as of Dec. 31, down from 2.23 trillion rupees a year ago.

“We remain engaged with various parties for fund raising, to make required investments for network expansion, including 5G rollout,” Vodafone Idea CEO Akshaya Moondra said in a statement.

Average revenue per user (ARPU), a key performance metric for telecom firms, rose to 145 rupees from 135 rupees a year earlier, as it onboarded more 4G users.

Analysts had expected the company to report an ARPU between 142 rupees-146 rupees.

Vodafone Idea’s 4G subscriber base grew to 125.6 million as on Dec. 31 from 121.6 million a year ago.

Its shares settled 0.7% higher ahead of the results. Reuters

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