Bharti Airtel has achieved its goal of topping the chart in the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) aspect. Today, Airtel announced its quarterly results that ended on June 30, 2019. In the Earnings Call, Bharti Airtel announced that the ARPU has increased to Rs 129 from Rs 123 quarter ago. A few weeks back, Reliance Jio reported an ARPU of Rs 121, so Airtel is now ahead of Jio in this aspect. At the same time, Airtel also stated that its 4G subscriber base now stands at 95.2 million, which is an increase of 63.3% YoY. While the 4G subscriber base and ARPU of Airtel continues to grow, the overall subscriber base of the telco hasn't seen any major growth and indeed it's down by 0.5% to 281.1 million from 282.6 million. The prepaid customer base of Airtel currently stands at 94.9% of the overall 281.1 million user base.
Airtel Beats Reliance Jio in the ARPU Aspect
In October 2018, Bharti Airtel stated that it's going after the ARPU and not after the customer base or tariff plans. In the process, Airtel introduced a new scheme called Minimum Recharges which allowed the company to gain back the lost ARPU after the arrival of Reliance Jio. The Average Revenue per User of Bharti Airtel at the end of June 2018 was Rs 105, and a year later, the telco managed to increase it to Rs 129, beating Reliance Jio in the process.
On the flip side, Reliance Jio cleared that its main goal is to add as many subscribers as possible and leave the ARPU and tariffs behind. Airtel wants to focus only on the customers who generate revenue for the telco, while Jio wants to increase its subscriber base, and both the telcos have achieved what they're looking for. For the unaware, Reliance Jio is now the leading telecom operator by subscriber base in India with Vodafone Idea second on the list.
Airtel 4G Subscriber Base Increased to 95.2 Million During June Quarter
Unlike Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel is a GSM operator, meaning it provides services in 2G, 3G and 4G networks. However, the telco is trying its best to become a 4G-only operator in the country. While Airtel has a subscriber base of over 280 million, 4G subscribers in that number are just 43.4%. Airtel confirmed that its 4G subscriber base at the end of June 2019 stood at 95.2 million, which is an increase of nearly 10 million compared to the March 2019 quarter.
Out of the 281.1 million subscriber base, 94.9% of them are prepaid users, which is an expected thing.
Mobile Data Traffic on Airtel Network Witnessed Two-Fold Growth
Airtel users continue to consume massive data on their smartphones. During the quarter that ended on June 30, 2019, Airtel users consumed a total of 737.1 million minutes and each Airtel customer consumed 888 minutes of voice calling every month. Talking about the data usage on the network, it stood at 3,904 PBs- a two-fold increase from 2,003 PBs data consumed a year ago.
Airtel also stated that its data customer base now stands at 120 million, of which 95 million are 4G customers and the rest are 3G, 2G customers.
Bharti Airtel Posts Losses of Rs 2,866 Crore in Q1 FY20
During the same Earnings Call, Bharti Airtel reported a staggering Rs 2,866 crore loss for the first quarter of FY 2020, amid a fierce competition unleashed in the Indian telecom market by rival Reliance Jio. Airtel had logged a net profit of Rs 97 crore in the same period of the previous year, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
The revenue of the Sunil Mittal-led company rose 4.7% to Rs 20,738 crore during the first quarter ended June 2019 as against Rs 19,799 crore in the year-ago period.
Commenting on the earnings, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said the first quarter of the year has begun with a "healthy and equitable growth across all our lines of businesses".
"Headline pricing remained stable, albeit at low levels. We continue to remain focused on providing value to customers through our rewards platform, Airtel Thanks. This has led to the second consecutive quarter of ARPU increase," he further added.
Financially, Bharti Airtel's future is slightly doubtful with the company posting losses for the first time in 16 years. Subscriber wise, the company is stable, and it may not lose any more subscribers, and at the same time, it may not add any more subscribers. ARPU-wise, the telco will push even further to take it past Rs 150 over the next two quarters.