Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator, Reliance Jio’s revenues might surpass Bharti Airtel’s for the quarter ending in December 2018, reported ET Telecom. As per the analysts, the telecom operator will be helped by more subscriber addition and will report another net profit growth. On the other hand, the other incumbents like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are expected to report sizeable losses due to higher costs. However, there is also expected to be a slight increase in the average revenue per user (ARPU) because of the introduction of the minimum recharge plans.
Bharti Airtel to Report Massive Losses for the First time in 16 Years
The brokerage firm, ICICI securities estimated a net loss of Rs 4,001.7 crore in the third fiscal quarter for Vodafone Idea, which is lesser than the July-September period when Vodafone Idea reported losses worth Rs 4,974 crore. This improvement is likely the result of synergies kicking in. The newly merged telco, Vodafone Idea will be posting its consolidated earnings for the second time. The Sunil Mittal Bharti led telecom operator, Bharti Airtel is expected to report a loss of Rs 649 crore to Rs 1,141 crore, which will be for the first time in 16 years. In the September quarter, the telecom operator surprisingly reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 119 crore helped by one time exceptional gains.
ICICI Securities have said that it will be Jio’s fifth successive profitable quarter. The brokerage firm has also estimated a 49% on-year jump in the company’s net profit to Rs 751 crore, helped by an “estimated 30.7 million subscriber adds”. The brokerage has also asserted that it expects Jio’s December quarter revenue to grow nearly 12% sequentially to Rs 10,327 crore which would be for the first time higher than Airtel’s India revenue.
Another brokerage firm Credit Suisse and Kotak Institutional Equities have estimated that Bharti Airtel’s third-quarter revenue will be somewhere between Rs 997-10,148 crore. Brokerage Axis Capital said, “Wireless revenue (for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea) will continue to decline in Q3 albeit at a slower rate in the wake of steps taken by companies to improve their ARPU by improving ARPU from low-end customers.”
Minimum Recharges to Help Vodafone Idea and Airtel
In the October month last year, the private telecom operators, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel introduced minimum recharge plans with the idea of weeding out low paying customers and improving the average revenue per user (ARPU). The analysts say that the full effect of this introduction will only be visible in the January – March quarter. Going by the estimations of ICICI Securities, Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s ARPU will notice a rise of 3.3% and 1% on quarter to Rs 103 and Rs 89 respectively. Jio’s ARPU, on the other hand, will decline by 2.3% on-quarter to Rs 129 due to a mix of 4G feature phone users.
In the third quarter of the fiscal year 2019, Axis Capital expects that Bharti Airtel will lose around 10 million subscribers, whereas, Vodafone Idea has nearly lost 14 million subscribers in October and December alone, as per the data collected by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
Credit Suisse has said, “Stagnant industry revenue, market share gains by Jio coupled with an increase in network expansion costs should hurt mobile Ebitda for Bharti, although this will be largely offset by strong Africa numbers.”