Vodafone To Invest Rs 13,000 Crore In India
Telecom major Vodafone announced investments of Rs 13,000 crore in India. The telco said it would use the capital for capacity augmentation and new business initiatives. Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group Plc made the announcement in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the UK.
Since starting operations in India in 2007, Vodafone has reportedly invested over Rs 111,000 crore and over Rs 100,000 crore making it the largest FDI investor in the country today. Colao said, “At Vodafone, we are enthused with the PM’s vision for ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’.
“As the co-creator of the telecom ecosystem, a catalyst of the telecom revolution in India and being committed for the long term, we are ideally poised to partner the Government of India in fulfilling these important initiatives. We are pleased to announce our enhanced commitment to India through this series of significant further investments,” he added.
The committed investment includes Rs 8,000 crore to enhance, upgrade and expand network coverage and Rs 3,000 crore to further increase capacity and upgrade its high-end technology centre and IT and customer experience centres in Pune and Ahmedabad.
The company also said another Rs 1,000 crore will be for setting up a state-of- the-art Tier-4 data centre. This is the first of its kind in the Indian telecom sector and is specially designed to service the evolving communications needs of businesses and enterprises, the statement said. A similar amount of Rs 1,000 crores will be towards the payment bank for which Vodafone M-Pesa Ltd. has received an in-principle license from RBI.
“This will provide further impetus to M-Pesas focus on financial inclusion and accelerate Indias journey into a cashless economy.” Vodafone said in a statement adding that the planned capacity expansions and investments in the high-end technology centre and the customer service centres will create opportunities for employment and for skilling and training Indias rich talent pool.
“Vodafone will accordingly increase its staffing levels to 15,000 employees over the next two years,” the statement said. Vodafone’s India business, in addition to being the highest contributor to Vodafone Group’s service revenue growth, has the largest customer base of 188 million customers, with 100 rural customers. It is also the largest data traffic market (by volume) and the third largest contributor to Vodafone Groups service revenues.
On a seperate release, Vodafone India ,reported a 9 percent year-over-year increase in operating profit for the first half of 2015-16, driven by strong growth in data traffic and revenues. India’s second-largest mobile operator posted an operating profit of Rs 2,347.2 crore in the six months ended September 2015, while service revenues rose 11.2 percent to Rs 22,902 from the year-ago period after regulatory impact.
Data growth continues to be very strong, with data usage over the network rising 74 percent from a year earlier in the first half, and the active data customer base increasing 16 percent to 66.5 million. The 3G customer base grew an annual 75 percent to 23.8 million, the report said.
Sunil Sood, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone India said the company will continue to deliver healthy double digit underlying revenue growth of 11.2 percent and further enhanced EBITDA margin to 29.7 percent. The parent firm also announced that preparations for an IPO in India are underway.
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