India’s Bharti Airtel has booked a 7% year-on-year increase in total revenues for the three-month period ended 30 September 2014, fuelled mainly by expansion in India, where a 43.0% increase in data subscribers and a 31.2% increase in data consumption boosted turnover to INR158.16 billion (USD2.58 billion). Revenues from the group’s African units grew by 6.4% y-o-y in local currency terms, but exchange rate changes depressed the reported growth to 1.9%. Airtel’s overall subscriber base grew to 303.71 million from 280.09 million twelve months earlier. Airtel’s domestic mobile division claimed some 15.45 million 3G users, compared to 7.44 million in September 2013, whilst data usage per customer swelled to 563MB from 429MB. In Africa, meanwhile, Airtel registered 26.37 million data users, representing 36.9% of its total subscriber base up from 17.54 million and 26.4% a year earlier. EBITDA for the group was up 12% y-o-y at INR38.52 billion, whilst net profits for the quarter more than doubled to INR13.83 billion from INR5.12 billion in the corresponding period of 2013.
Gopal Vittal, Airtel’s CEO for India and South Asia commented on the group’s results: ‘We continue to see strong momentum in mobile data which has grown by 74% in this quarter. Airtel’s pioneering 4G rollout in 15 cities is now witnessing stronger customer acceptance. On the regulatory front, the recent TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India] recommendations on making more contiguous spectrum available in the upcoming auctions have the potential of transforming the industry. We believe that this is critical to realise the exciting vision of ‘Digital India’ that the government has articulated.’