Sustainability & National Contribution Report 2016

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Key Highlights

  • 6th largest mobile operator globally by subscriber base, with over 185 million subscribers1

  • Pan-India 3G & 4G networks reaching 500 million Indians

  • Roll out 63,000 sites in 2016

  • Mobile Number Portability leadership with 20.7 million net subscribers gain

  • In-principle approval from Reserve Bank of India to launch Payments Bank

About Idea

Idea, an Aditya Birla Group Company, is a pan-India integrated wireless operator offering 2G, 3G and 4G services, with National Long Distance (NLD), International Long Distance (ILD) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) operations. Idea is one of the top three mobile operators in India, with an annual revenue in excess of USD5 billion and a revenue market share of 19%. With nearly 200 million subscribers, Idea ranks sixth in global rankings of operators in terms of subscribers for a single country operation.

In line with the Government’s vision of Digital India, Idea has accelerated its efforts in building a digital economy. Idea has embarked into digital services, having begun its transformation from a pure play mobile operator to an integrated digital services and solutions provider, and expanded its digital offerings to digital communications, digital payments, Cloud and storage, digital information and more.

Idea’s pan-India mobile voice network covers over one billion Indians across 400,000 towns and villages. As at end December 2016, Idea’s network comprised 230,000 sites and over 128,000 km of optical fibre.

Idea provides world-class service delivery through the most extensive network of customer touch points, comprising of 8,780 exclusive Idea outlets, call centre, digital app and social media. Idea’s commitment to providing superior customer experience led to the company achieving No. 1 ranking in market research firm Forrester’s ‘Customer Service Index 2016’. Idea has consistently retained its leadership position in Mobile Number Portability (MNP), continuing to grow its MNP net gain to 20 million subscribers.

Business Review 2016

In 2016, the Indian telecom sector achieved the milestone of one billion mobile subscribers, an instrumental development to get Indians to move towards a digital economy as demonetisation marked the closure of the year in the country.

In line with the Government’s vision of Digital India, Idea accelerated its efforts of building a digital economy by catalysing wireless broadband penetration. During the year, Idea achieved pan-India wireless broadband capability with an investment of INR130,000 million in spectrum acquisition in October 2016. The Company has also invested in expanding its network infrastructure across the country. In 2016, Idea rolled out 4G at an accelerated pace, setting up nearly 63,000 sites.

With a spectrum availability of 900 MHz across TDD and FDD bands, Idea is geared with substantial spectrum capacity required to meet data capacity needs for its customer base. The Company also launched Digital Idea, a suite of lifestyle apps which enables customers to enjoy a range of digital entertainment and content.

Idea's market penetration in rural areas has enabled it to offer mobile broadband services to new market segments, and the Company has been consistently propagating the benefits of mobile Internet to rural Indians through digital awareness and marketing activities.

In 2016, Idea launched its Internet4All campaign which resulted in 22 million hits where free data credit was given to nearly five million non-data users.

Idea’s commitment to providing superior customer experience across all touch points enabled it to achieve lead ranking of number one position in customer service by market research firm Forrester in its Customer Service Index 2016, the only mobile service provider to do so.

In spite of the disruptions brought on by the entry of a new operator in the market last year, Idea retained its leadership position in MNP, continuing to grow its MNP net gain to 20 million subscribers.

Financial Performance

For the nine months ending 31 December 2016, Idea reported Year to Date revenue growth of 3.6%. EBITDA was INR80,798 million, compared to INR94,139 million the previous year. Idea suffered a Loss After Tax of INR720 million.

  • Revenue


    • 264,971


    • 274,496


    Rs Million

  • EBITDA & EBITDA Margin (%)


    • 94,139



    • 80,798



    Rs Million

  • PAT


    • 25,043


    • (720)


    Rs Million

  • Subscribers


    • 171.9


    • 185.2



Outlook for 2017

The Indian mobile industry witnessed unprecedented disruption in the last quarter of October to December 2016, primarily due to free voice and mobile data promotions by the new entrant in the sector. Consequently, revenue, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and financial parameters for all mobile operators have sharply declined. For the first time in its history the flourishing Indian mobile sector is trending towards an annual revenue decline of between 3% and 5% in 2017, compared to 2016, for the year ending 31 March 2017. The sector can expect to recover revenues only once the new operator starts charging for its pan-India mobile services.

In spite of the short-term challenges, Idea remains committed to the process of building world class mobile broadband services. The Company is aggressively participating in the Digital India mission and is gearing up to offer Pan India wireless broadband services via 3G and/or 4G in all 22 telecom service areas in India. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, Idea’s 4G services will be expanded to 20 circles, covering 94% of its revenue market. The first half of 2017 will also see the launch of Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank.

Idea’s track record has proved that the company has performed better than the industry consistently, and the Company believes that healthy competition in the 4G market will aid in market growth and offer consumers greater choices.


1,2,3 & 4 All financials are for nine months ending December 31 for both years.