Leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel yesterday reported around 75% yearly decline at Rs 367 crore in its first quarter profit from Rs 373 crore in the January-March quarter. The profit was impacted by the price war introduced by Reliance Jio. Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia) today said that the company had done VoLTE trials in 5-6 cities, and the service will reach pan India by the end of March 2018.
"We have done (VoLTE) trials in 5-6 cities. Towards the end of this fiscal year, we will be taking VoLTE everywhere. The uptake of VoLTE devices will depend on certification...We should be very much national in the coming 6-9 months." Gopal Vittal spoke to media on the earnings calls.
Earlier this month, Airtel officially announced that they are testing the VoLTE service in five cities of the country, and several smartphone vendors have already pushed an OTA update to some of their phones to support the Airtel VoLTE network.
Airtel's results for the Q1FY2018 are not that great. Airtel’s consolidated revenue fell 14% to Rs 21,958 crore from a year earlier Its India revenues stood at Rs 17,244 crore, declined by 10.0% Y-o-Y primarily led by a mobile drop of 14.1% Y-o-Y. It said that mobile market remains turbulent in the current quarter as well, due to disruptive pricing by a new operator. However, these are not numbers by any means. Over the last few months, Airtel's ARPU has decreased due to the free 4G services from Reliance Jio.
Gopal also gave his view on the competitive market created by Reliance Jio. "You have seen action in the market already. We lost ARPU over the last few quarters, we have seen the revenue erosion. This is simply because we have responded in the marketplace with aggressive pricing in order to compete and grow our market share. That aspect will continue," Gopal Vittal said.
"The reason that is important is as you come out of this war that is currently on, we believe that this market will consolidate behind three players plus the government player, may be four, but perhaps three. We believe our objective is to consolidate and grow our market share," he added.
Airtel's VoLTE service is yet to reach Indian public, but the roll out seems to be not so far way. With every passing day, more and more smartphones are receiving the Airtel VoLTE update.