Indian telco Bharti Airtel has beaten forecasts to post a 49% hike in quarterly profits as user numbers surged in the world’s fastest growing telecoms market. Airtel (formerly Tele-Ventures) is the holding company for domestic group Bharti Enterprise’s telecoms interests, and offers a full range of services. The operator said consolidated net profit rose to INR6.82 billion (USD152.1 million) for its fiscal fourth quarter ended 31 March, up from INR4.59 billion a year earlier, on the back of a 47% rise in revenues to INR34.11 billion. Net profit for the fiscal year was INR22.58 billion, up 51%, on the back of revenues of INR1.16 billion, up 46%.
Airtel, 30.84% owned by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), said its mobile subscriber base rose 78% year-on-year to 19.6 million at the end of March. Total users, including fixed line customers, surged 77% to 20.9 million. It is targeting signing up at least a million new users every month in 2006. Indian operators added a total 5.2 million new wireless users in March alone, taking the country’s total user base to 90.54 million.