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Airtel Q3-FY14 Concall: On Discounted Tariffs & Africa Operations


Our telecom operator earnings coverage is brought to you by OnMobile Global, India’s leading Mobile Value Added Services [VAS] company

Bharti Airtel had reported consolidated revenues of Rs 21,939 crore and a net profit of Rs 610 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 (Q3-FY14). The mobile Internet revenues was at Rs 1,736 crore for the quarter, up 105% year-on-year. Here are some notes from Airtel’s earnings conference call: (Also read: Airtel Looking To Shift To Content-Based Data Plans)

– On discounted minutes: The difference between headline tariffs and realized tariffs is almost 30%-40%, so there is still a substantial headroom to cut back on discounted minutes. The challenge however is to optimize the tradeoff between volume and rate to drive revenue and improve its voice realization.


– Not entering new towns for 2G service: Airtel claims to have largest number of base stations, around 136,000-137,000 2G base stations in India. It also claims to have largest network in India covering around 85% of rural India and almost every single town. Going forward, its 2G investments will be focused on continuing to invest wherever they are capacity requirements and will be wary of entering new towns.

Africa Operations

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– Airtel is in number one or two position in 14 of the 17 African countries where it is operational, in line with its Africa strategy of either being number one or being a strong number two.

– Airtel believes the number three player or even a weak number two player may not earn profits in the long run in Africa, hence they are testing out each market to grow organically or inorganically to become a strong number two ( >30% revenue market share).

– Around 30% of its Africa user base is using some form of data service and non-voice now contributes to nearly 20% of the overall revenue. The company has expanded 3G services to 14 of 17 countries.

– Average data traffic (blended) in Africa has increased 120% year-on-year.

Capex: Airtel is currently focusing much more on the utilization of capex which has already been installed and commissioned in the last 12 to 18 months and the current revenue growth is due to higher utilization of its existing networks. The company believes the utilization can go further up and they have enough space for growth in the next three to six months. The company notes that this will not have any impact on its revenue market share (RMS) and its RMS is actually going up in several markets.

– The employee cost has declined in Africa due to the integration of Warid Uganda and restructuring of some markets especially Franco, where the telco has apparently let go of its unproductive or low performing employees.

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Also read:

– Airtel Has 0.1M 4G Connections & 54.4M Data Connections For Q3-FY14
– Airtel Q3-FY14: Profit of Rs 610 Crore; Mobile Internet Revenues At Rs 1736 Crore Globally
Airtel Money’s India Userbase Down 7%, Amount Transacted Rs 1238 Crore; IMPS Deal
Changes At Airtel: Manoj Kohli To Step Down; Gopal Vittal Appointed As New MD

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