Airtel 4G Subscriber Base Increased to 77 Million, ARPU Increased to Rs 104 During Q3 FY19

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Bharti Airtel today announced its results for the quarter that ended on December 30, 2018. During the quarter, the consolidated revenues of Airtel stood at Rs 20,519 crore which is an improvement of 1.9% YoY. India revenues for the quarter stood at Rs 14,768 crore which is a decline of 2.3% YoY. Airtel' subscriber base in India saw a huge decline of 14.6% QoQ compared to the quarter that ended on September 30, 2018. The subscriber base of Airtel in India now stands at 284 million which is a few millions above Jio' subscriber base. But on the brighter side, the telco's 4G customer base increased to 77 million from 65 million a quarter ago. And coming to ARPU, it's increased to Rs 104 from Rs 100 which is an increase of 4.1% QoQ.

Bharti Airtel Subscriber Base Declined by 14.6% Compared to Previous Quarter

As noted, Airtel' subscriber base in India witnessed a massive decline during Q3 FY19 (October, November and December). At the end of September 2018, Airtel had 332 million users under its belt, but during the quarter, it has been declined to 284 million. To recall, Jio reported a subscriber base of 280.1 million a few days back, so Jio might surpass Airtel in terms of subscribers this quarter itself. The reason behind Airtel' subscriber loss could be the introduction of minimum recharge plans which start at Rs 23. For the unaware, Airtel and Vodafone Idea introduced minimum recharge scheme for prepaid users where a customer has to perform a prepaid recharge of minimum Rs 23 (Rs 24 in Vodafone Idea's case) for every 28 days.

Out of the reported subscriber base, 93.6% of them are prepaid users. Again, this number is also down from 94.4% Airtel reported last quarter. The Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of Airtel increased to Rs 104, up from the Rs 100. This could be especially because of the introduction of minimum recharge plans.

As for customer usage, Airtel users consumed a whopping 702,881 million minutes of voice calling and 3,216,897 million MBs of data. Airtel data customer base stood at 107 million, while the 4G customer base is 77 million. An average Airtel user is consuming 10,528MB of data every month.

Airtel Reports 72% Drop in Consolidated Net Income

Bharti Airtel reported a 72% drop in consolidated net income for the three months ended December 2018 at about Rs 86 crore amid market turbulence triggered by cut-throat competition. The net income stood at Rs 306 crore in the same period of the previous year. Total revenue for the December 2018 quarter stood at Rs 20,519 crore, just 1% higher than the Rs 20,319 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

"India revenues for Q3'19 at Rs 14,768 crore have declined by 2.3% year-on-year (declined 3.5 pc on reported) on an underlying basis. Mobile revenues have witnessed a year on year de-growth of 4% on an underlying basis primarily on account of the sustained pricing pressure in India Mobile segment," Airtel said in a statement.

The loss from India operations (before exceptional items) stood at Rs 971.9 crore, compared to a net income of Rs 373.5 crore in the year-ago period. The company also said its Africa revenues grew by 11.2% led by strong growth in data and Airtel money transaction value.

"Our simplified product portfolio and premium content partnerships have played out well during the quarter, translating into one of our highest ever 4G customers additions of 11 million plus...We have deployed 24000 broadband sites during the quarter and remain committed to invest in capacities ahead of the demand curve and provide a superior customer experience," said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

"Effective this quarter, we have modified our customer base measurement to represent only transacting and revenue generating customers," he added. It will be interesting to see how Airtel manages to tackle the competition going forward.

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Managing Editor

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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