The continued losses at Vodafone Idea are spilling over into other AB Birla group firms, led by Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla. The combined m-cap of the AB Birla group firms was down 6.2 per cent on Monday, led by losses at Vodafone Idea. In all, group firms lost nearly Rs 18,000 crore m-cap on Monday. The telecom major has lost 44.3 per cent of its m-cap in July, wiping out most of the gains it made after it raised Rs 25,000 crore by way of a rights issue in May this year.
Vodafone Idea continues to be under competitive pressure with its net loss during the April-June quarter widening to Rs 4,908 crore compared to Rs 4,882 crore in the preceding quarter. The company, which had narrowed its losses during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal on the back of lower operating costs due to realisation of merger synergies,
The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) on Wednesday approved the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to levy a total penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for refusing to provide points of interconnection to Reliance Jio. The apex decision-making body of the telecom sector will now send its verdict to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the final decision. The affected telcos are likely to move court once the DoT formalises the decision.
Shares of Vodafone Idea slipped below its face value of Rs 10 at Rs 9.90, down 6 per cent on the BSE on Wednesday on the back of heavy volumes. The stock of the telecom services provider hit an all-time low on the bourses.
Till 02:26 pm, around 200 million equity shares, representing 0.69 per cent total equity of Vodafone Idea, changed hands on the NSE and BSE. About 9.5 million shares of the company changed hands via single block deal, the BSE data shows.
Vodafone Idea Ltd. has hired Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley to help sell its fiber assets as India’s largest mobile carrier by users seeks to bolster its finances, people familiar with the matter said.
The bankers will initiate discussions with potential buyers for the fiber assets, which could be valued at as much as ₹130 billion ($1.9 billion), the people said, asking not be identified as the talks are private.
While Reliance Jio is becoming a mass market player with its prepaid tariffs almost a third of those offered by incumbents, Vodafone Idea (VIL) and Bharti Airtel have their focus on higher-Arpu (average revenue per user) customers, and it shows in the premium charged in postpaid tariffs compared to that of Jio’s. With this, the segmentation of telecom subscribers in India is becoming clearer now as telcos seem to have fixed their allegiance to their respective customer bases.
The revenue market share (RMS) of the top three Indian telecom players has reached a state of equilibrium for the first time since the launch of Reliance Jio in September 2016 in the first three months of January-March 2019 quarter. Reliance Jio reported mobile RMS, including access services and national long-distance revenues, of near 31%, Vodafone Idea (VIL) stood at about 31% and Bharti Airtel was a tad above 29%. The remaining is shared among the smaller players.
It is for the first time that in a quarter, since the launch of Reliance Jio in September 2016, the revenues for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL) have not declined, when compared sequentially.
Thanks to the move by the incumbents to remove the low Arpu (average revenues per user) customers started in November last year, there has been some recovery in the financial performance of the two companies.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has granted approval to Vodafone Idea to hive off its fibre assets into a separate entity named Vodafone Towers. The move to hive off the fibre business was to achieve operational efficiency and also monetisation of the assets. As per estimates, around 1.56 lakh route kilometre of fibre assets owned by the company are worth around Rs 15,000 crore.
Sectoral regulator Trai is likely to seek a clarification from incumbent operators — Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel — regarding the variation in the subscriber data. Both the operators share one set of subscriber numbers with Trai and another with investors. The numbers shared by Reliance Jio, however, do not differ.
Sources in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) told FE they are aware of the mismatch and will soon seek a clarification from the operators.
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