Lockdown, WFH Effect: Bharti Airtel Posts Highest-Ever Quarterly Revenue

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Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Tuesday reported a revenue of ₹ 25,785 crore in the July-September period, its highest ever in a quarter, boosted by higher tariffs and a rise in data usage from a coronavirus-fuelled shift to remote working. The jump in revenue for Bharti Airtel comes at a time when the country’s telecom sector is grappling with low tariffs due to a price war that ensued after billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio entered the space.

  1. In a regulatory filing after market hours, the private sector company said its net loss narrowed to ₹ 763.2 crore in the second quarter of current financial year, compared to ₹ 23,044.9 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Its revenue jumped 22.02 per cent in the September quarter compared to the year-ago period. 
  2. Bharti Airtel said its ARPU or average revenue per user – a measure of profitability – improved to Rs 162 per month in the July-September period, from ₹ 157 in the previous quarter and ₹ 128 in the three-month period ended September 30, 2019.
  3. “Despite being a seasonally weak quarter, we delivered a strong performance… Our data consumption grew by 58 per cent year-on-year which reflects strong engagement of customers on our network… Other lines of business also continued with steady growth momentum, with Airtel business growing 7.5 per cent,” said Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel.
  4. Bharti Airtel said it sees sees a gradual return to normalcy with the series of unlocks throughout the country.
  5. Bharti Airtel said its domestic business delivered strong growth in terms of revenue, margins as well as customers.
  6. The New Delhi-based company said its India revenue rose 22 per cent to ₹ 18,747 crore, led by “strong 4G customer momentum and up-trading”.
  7. The company’s 4G data customers rose by 1.44 crore to 15.27 crore in the quarter ended September 30. The company said its digital services are now amongst the strongest in the country, with 16 crore digitally-engaged customers, as it continues to enable customers and businesses to remain connected during the coronavirus crisis. 
  8. The country’s highly-indebted telecom sector is characterised with intense competition with the aggressively priced high-speed data packs and free voice calls from rival Reliance Jio Infocomm.   
  9. Last year, telecom operators hiked tariffs as they were ordered to pay dues of ₹ 92,000 crore to the government’s Department of Telecommunications.
  10. Shares in Bharti Airtel ended 0.24 per cent lower at ₹ 433 apiece on the BSE ahead of the earnings announcement by the company, underperforming the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index which rose 0.94 per cent.
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