Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has booked consolidated total revenue of INR283.3 billion (USD3.8 billion) for the three months to end-September 2021, up 5.5% from INR268.5 billion in the preceding quarter and INR250.6 billion (+13.0%) in the year-ago period. EBITDA for the group rose by 24.5% year-on-year to INR140.2 billion with an EBITDA margin of 49.5% compared to 44.9% in the same period of 2020. Net income for the quarter was INR11.3 billion, reversing a net loss of INR7.6 billion a year earlier and representing an improvement of 300% quarter-on-quarter.
The growth was attributed to strong performance from its domestic operations, as well from its majority-owned subsidiary Airtel Africa. In India, Airtel counted a total of 323.5 million mobile subscriptions as at end-September 2021 – compared to 321.2 million three months earlier and 293.7 million in September 2020 – whilst 4G subscriptions rose 192.5 million from 184.4 million q-o-q and 152.7 million y-o-y. The improvement in its subscriber mix saw mobile ARPU recover to INR153 from INR146 in the preceding quarter and INR162 in September 2020, following the removal of the interconnection usage charge (IUC) in January this year. In the fixed broadband segment, meanwhile, Airtel recorded its highest ever net subscriber additions during the period, adding around 467,000 subscriptions to its books, increasing its total 3.8 million. The operator noted that its subscriber growth was aided by the ongoing expansion of its ‘Local Cable Operator (LCO) Model’ for network development. Through this system, Airtel partners with LCOs to deploy last-mile infrastructure in exchange for revenue share and the telco now utilises the system in 436 cities, whilst its total network footprint stands at 523 cities.