During the Feb auctions, Vodafone won about 5 MHz spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala
Vodafone India, the country’s second largest mobile operator by revenue as well as subscribers, will launch 4G services by the end of the year, the company’s business head for Mumbai circle Ishmeet Singh said on Thursday.
Vodafone India expects its data to contribute to over 35% of service revenue by the next fiscal from its Mumbai circle from the current 30%. Mumbai has the highest data Arpu customers. During April-June, Vodafone’s data revenue as a percentage of mobile revenue stood at around 19%.
During the February spectrum auctions, Vodafone won about 5 MHz spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in five circles —Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala. The company is currently conducting trials of its 4G services in these circles.
The company, which has over 4.8 million data users of its overall 8 million customers in Mumbai, has added 1200 sites (250 2G sites and 950 3G sites) in the circle during the past year. It is also rolling out promotional features, pertaining to data, to attract subscribers. The latest being a double data offer for its prepaid subscribers, which allows users to get double data at the same price. “We have invested over Rs 1,000 crore between April 2014 and March 2015 to strengthen and expand network and retail presence in Mumbai. We will continue to invest on strengthening offerings to remain the first choice of telecom services in the circle,” Singh said.
The company is also strengthening its network infrastructure in the circle, where almost all mobile telecom subscribers suffer from call drops, connectivity issues, and a host of other network problems.
Vodafone’s move towards larger focus on its data services comes at a time when the telecom industry is seeing a drop in voice realization rate on the heels of high data growth.
The introduction of 4G services is further expected to rise demand for high speed data.
“Over the last few quarters both the number of data users as well as the consumption of data per user has risen significantly,” said Singh.
He, however, agreed that telcos will eventually have to pass down costs to customers to re coup the huge amount of money they paid for spectrum purchases. “We will look at it (increasing data prices and headline tariff) if the competition looks at it,” Singh added.