Vodafone India on Wednesday launched a pre-paid service for its post-paid, retail and
enterprise customers. The company's chief commercial officer, Vivek Mathur, spoke to Rhik Kundu on the sidelines of the event. Excerpts
Indian telcos are currently very bullish on data. What’s your outlook for the business?
Data is a very significant contributor to our growth. It currently accounts for about 13% of our total revenue, which, we think, will climb to 50% in future.
Last fiscal, we saw revenue growth of about 72% year-on-year in the data segment. Our 3G revenues grew by over 150% during the same time, which was driven primarily by the increasing penetration of smartphones and rising consumption. On an average, a Vodafone India customer consumes over 700 MB data every month, which is on a par with some European countries.
We had a total of 57 million data customers at the beginning of this fiscal while our 3G user base consisted of 10.3 million users, who accounted for about 40% of our data revenue. As of August, 3G revenues account for
about 50% of the company’s data revenue.
Over-the-top (OTT) players like Facebook and WhatsApp, among others, continue to bring down your sms revenue. Is there a threat of your data revenue getting impacted by their popularity?
Global trends show us that some OTT services have had an impact on SMS revenue. However, SMS — which accounts for 2.5% of our revenue — is not a major contributor to our India earnings. We are currently seeing significant consumption growth in the data segment, which is being driven by social networks and OTT services.
Will you be increasing your headline tariff in the
With high inflationary pressure, we would need to protect our margins. This will involve making our operations more efficient and passing down the costs to the customer. What is critical in the Indian context is to provide great value in terms of network and customer experience. As long as you do so, the consumer will be willing to pay a premium for a superior experience.
Will Vodafone be cutting down on discounts
and freebies in coming quarters?
We have reduced some of the freebies during the last one year due to inflationary pressures. The reduction will continue this fiscal as well.