Analysts, though, reiterated that Vi’s ₹1,300-crore capex in the September quarter is well below peers who are spending around $3 billion annually, underlining the need for it to close its delayed fundraise quickly.
On Friday, Vi reported a narrower fiscal second quarter loss of ₹7,144.6 crore on the back of a 2.8% sequential rise in revenue to ₹9,406.4 crore, helped by a near 5% on-quarter jump in average revenue per user (ARPU) – to ₹109 — after segmented price hikes taken in July. “Vi has shown some resilience by limiting customer losses in the July-September period, but this was possibly helped by Jio’s focus on dormant subscriber clean-up instead of aggressively targeting new (user) acquisitions…this may have given Vi some respite on the customer losses front,” Nitin Soni, senior director at global ratings agency, Fitch, told ET.
India’s sole loss-making private telco contained customer losses in the September quarter to 2.4 million compared to 12.4 million in the April-June period. During the same period, Jio reported a sharper-than-expected drop of over 11 million in its customer base. Soni added that Vi’s cash generation remains insufficient to even meet interest costs, let alone capex, and while its ARPU has risen, it remains significantly lower than Airtel (₹153) and Jio’s (₹144) levels.
Analysts said government relief package for telcos, the four-year payments moratorium on adjusted gross revenue and spectrum payments, has eased Vi’s near-term regulatory cash payouts by around ₹1 lakh crore.