Bharti Airtel Finds Its Way Back into Growth and Stability After Two Years of Data Tariff War

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It is very well known that the data tariff war which was started by the entry of Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator Reliance Jio, pushed the other telecom operators to the brink of losses and heavily damaged the balance sheet of these companies. However, there is one telecom operator which has managed to climb out of the pit finally and is making impressive improvements to its financial parameters and is also starting to regain its dominance. The telco we are talking about is Bharti Airtel. The Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco has managed to get stability in the market finally and has even witnessed positive influence in its financial tickers like ARPU, subscriber base, profitability, among others. Here are some of the reasons which have helped Airtel in getting back on the path of positive growth after the data tariff war.

Positive Effects on ARPU and Other Financial Metrics

The start of this positive growth for Bharti Airtel began with the introduction of the minimum recharge plans and the discontinuation of the talk time prepaid plans. After the data tariff war, the telco was experiencing meagre average revenue per user (ARPU), which is a critical industry parameter. To weed out low paying subscribers, the telecom operator decided to do away with talk time plans and introduced a minimum recharge plan starting at Rs 35 per month. This move, although pushed a lot of subscribers out of Airtel's subscriber sheet, it also helped the telco in boosting its ARPU and paved the way for further improvement.

The proof is found in the latest financial reports of Bharti Airtel which show that the telco reported an ARPU of Rs 123 in March as opposed to the Rs 104 ARPU in December month, thus denoting an 18.6% growth. With this rise in ARPU, Bharti Airtel is only a few points behind as Reliance Jio currently boasts of an ARPU of Rs 126.2.

Bharti Airtel's Improved Effort in Data Consumption

Not only this, but Bharti Airtel is also using other methods to bring improvement and to do that it has launched new platforms and services for the consumers. The telco recently introduced the Wynk Tube app to drive more consumer engagement and data consumption. The Wynk Tube helps the users in availing the music video for their favourite songs, and it comes with a particular target towards the vernacular audience. The telco has also launched the Airtel Books platform and has reintroduced its popular Airtel Thanks loyalty programme scheme to extend benefits to the customers and to turn them into more loyal subscribers.

There is another metric which points towards Airtel's success, and it is average data consumption per user. For the quarter ending in March, Airtel users were consuming 11GB data per month as opposed to Reliance Jio users who were using 10.9GB in the same period. This was the first time that Airtel's average data consumption surpassed that of Jio.

Airtel Simplifies its Tariff Portfolio and Also Ramps Up Content Offerings

Bharti Airtel now barely has less than 20 tariff plans for prepaid customers under its belt. The telco has simplified its entire tariff portfolio to make it easier for the subscribers. Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, still providing segmented recharges to the customers and confusing them. Another aspect where Airtel is shining is the content offerings; The Sunil Mittal-led telco is aggressively expanding partnerships with content providers like ZEE5, Amazon Prime, Eros Now, HOOQ and so on to provide free content to the users.

Reported By


Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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