Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel booked consolidated total revenues of INR298.7 billion (USD4.0 billion) for the three months to end-December 2021, up from INR265.2 billion a year earlier, with the operator attributing the improvement to continued 4G subscription growth and an uptick in ARPU following pricing intervention. EBITDA for the period was INR149.0 billion, an increase of 22.4% year-on-year, whilst net income dipped to INR8.3 billion from INR8.5 billion.
Airtel’s consolidated total customer base stood at 484.515 million as at end-December 2021, up from 480.004 million three months earlier and 457.995 million in December 2020. In its domestic market, the operator registered a 4.9% y-o-y increase in mobile subscriptions to 322.918 million, of which 195.541 million were 4G lines, up from 165.629 million a year earlier. Mobile ARPU was INR163, up from in INR153 in the preceding quarter but down from INR166 in the year ago period. Airtel notes, however, that the comparable figure for December 2020 – taking into account the changes to the interconnection usage charge (IUC) in January this year – was INR146. Airtel counted a total of 4.160 million fixed broadband subscriptions, up from 3.819 million in September 2021 and 2.793 million in December 2020. The sharp increase in subscriber lines was accompanied by a downturn in ARPU, however, which fell 6.8% y-o-y to INR657 from INR705.
Commenting on the results, Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal was quoted as saying: ‘We have delivered another quarter of sustained performance across all our business segments … The recent tariff revision for mobile services has gone down well and we are exiting the quarter with an industry leading ARPU of INR163. The full impact of the revised mobile tariffs, however, will be visible in the fourth quarter. Our Enterprise, Homes and Africa business continue to deliver strongly, with steady increase in contribution to the overall mix of the portfolio. Our balance sheet is robust and we are now generating healthy free cash flows. This has enabled us to recently prepay some of our spectrum liabilities to the Government thereby reducing the interest burden.’