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Airtel posts loss of Rs 1,035 crore in Q3; ARPU at Rs 135

Bharti Airtel posted a net loss of Rs 1,035 crore in Q3FY20 — its third quarterly loss — though, the net loss narrowed significantly from a whopping Rs 23,045 crore in Q2FY20. Meanwhile, the company’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) gained considerable ground, and reached Rs 135 in Q3, compared to Rs 128 in the previous quarter — a growth rate of 5.3%. In comparison, rival Reliance Jio posted an ARPU of Rs 128.4 in Q3FY20. The company added 20.6 million 4G subscribers in India, and claimed that it was the highest quarterly 4G subscriber addition in the company’s history. Across 16 countries, Airtel’s overall customer base stood at 418.8 million.

Indian revenues for Q3 at Rs 15,797 crore grew 7% YoY, and consolidated revenue grew 8.5% YoY to Rs 21,947 crore. The company’s MD and CEO, Gopal Vittal, said the tariff revision in December 2019 was a “welcome step” in “repairing” the financial health of the telecom sector, and added that “tariffs must go up further for enabling the industry to invest in emerging technologies” — this suggests that there could potentially be another tariff hike in the coming months.

Revenue from mobile services in India was Rs 11,397 crore, up from Rs 10,811 crore in Q2FY20. Voice usage per customer in India increased by 5.8% QoQ to 898 minutes.  Mobile data traffic on the network grew to 5,166 PBs in the quarter, compared to 2,996 PBs in Q3FY19.

  • Vittal further said that Airtel is in the process of shutting down its 3G networks, and re-farm the 900 and 2100 MHz band spectrum to increase its 4G footprint.

Customer base for mobile services in India grew marginally to 283 million as opposed to 279.4 million million in the September quarter. Total customer base in India was 308.7 million, up from 304.7 million in the September quarter. This is still significantly less than Jio’s 370 million subscribers.

  • 123.7 million 4G subscribers in Q3, as opposed to 103.1 million in the previous quarter — a 20.6% QoQ increase.

Airtel Payments Bank’s active users grew to 12.2 million in the December quarter, compared to 9.8 million in the previous quarter. It posted a revenue of Rs 103 Crores, up from Rs 85.3 crore in the September quarter. However, losses increased, yet again, to Rs 99.2 crore in Q3, as opposed to Rs 84.3 crore in Q2.

The company said it has successfully raised Rs 21,502 crore through a combination of fresh equity issuance via qualified institutional placement and issue of convertible bonds, as we had previously reported. It also confirmed that the Supreme Court had rejected their petition challenging the AGR verdict, and telecom operators have filed an application to modify the supplementary order of the top court, which is currently pending. At the time, the company had said that the “interest on penalty which forms nearly 75% of AGR dues would have better served the digital mission of the country”.

Downloads: Financials | Press release 

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