Airtel Lost Least Subscribers, Posted Highest ARPU Growth: Charu Paliwal, Counterpoint Research

Bharti Airtel recently announced its Q3 FY22 results reporting an ARPU growth of almost Rs 10 to Rs 163 and a growth in the number of 4G subscribers. The telco has been able to grow its market share which is a plus point and expanded network to new parts of the country.

Highlights

  • Bharti Airtel lost the least number of subscribers in Q3 FY22 and posted the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) growth.
  • ICICI Securities in a note said that the Q3 FY22 performance is an inflexion point for Bharti Airtel.
  • Charu Paliwal said that the telco’s performance looks stable in terms of top line numbers as ARPU and EBITDA.

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Bharti Airtel lost the least number of subscribers in Q3 FY22 and posted the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) growth. The second-largest telco in the country added 3 million new 4G users while losing about 0.6 million subscribers from the total pool. This helped with improving the overall 4G users percentage in the subscriber base and also boosted the average revenue per user (ARPU) figure.

“In the mobile segment, Airtel lost 0.6 million total subscribers but added 3.0 million 4G subscribers. Improved mix of subscriber base (with 4G subscriber penetration of 61%) and prepaid tariff hike in November helped the operator to grow its ARPU by INR 10 over the preceding quarter. If compared to peers, Airtel lost the least no. of subscribers and posted the highest ARPU growth. The full impact of tariff hike in terms of SIM consolidation and improved ARPU will be realised in the next quarter,” Charu Paliwal, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, told TelecomTalk.

Top Line Numbers Look Good for Airtel

Paliwal said that the telco’s performance looks stable in terms of top-line numbers as ARPU and EBITDA (earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation); all key metrics are on a growth trajectory.

“The bottom line is still a miss with 2.8% YoY decline majorly due to jump in income tax expense and profit share of non-controlling interest.”

Q3 FY22 Performance an Inflexion Point for Airtel: ICICI Securities

ICICI Securities, in a note, said that the Q3 FY22 performance is an inflexion point for Bharti Airtel given the telco’s decisive revenue market share gain and organic deleveraging.

ICICI Securities noted the growth in the non-mobile business of the telco, including home services, Airtel Business, and Payments Bank. One of the surprising developments was the strong and steady performance from Airtel Africa.

The analysts at ICICI Securities have maintained a ‘Buy’ rating for Bharti Airtel on the back of market share gain and deleveraging. The target price has been set at Rs 850.

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