Bharti Airtel subscriber base hits 351m, revenue growth in Africa rises by 31%
WITH 8.1 million mobile customer additions in third quarter 2015 from India, South Asia and Africa, Indian telecommunications giant, Bharti Airtel, has increased its subscription base to 351 million.
Besides, Bharti Airtel’s Africa’s operation growth appeared to have also picked up. The firm disclosed that its Africa’s net loss narrowed to $74 million from $136 million a year ago on the back of a widening data customer base even as overall revenue growth was marginally weighed down by currency depreciation in key markets.
The firm in Nigeria currently enjoys 21 per cent market share in Nigeria and services 31.1 million subscribers.According to ETTelecom.com, the mobile carrier’s Africa revenue, adjusted for the impact of divestment of tower assets, grew 3.1 per cent in the quarter over last year to $1.026 billion.
Commenting, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Africa, Christian de Faria, said data consumption and revenues have grown by 111.6 per cent and 40.8 per cent, respectively, on-year,.
“Operational efficiencies have resulted in improvement in EBITDA margin for a second consecutive quarter. I am pleased to report that 8.9 million Airtel Money customers are transacting close to $5 billion of money every quarter”, de Faria added.
Meanwhile, the telecommunications firm’s net profit fell 22 per cent, missing estimates, dragged lower by spectrum payments, higher interest costs and competitive pressure on its voice and data business, although mobile broadband usage remained strong.
The firm said its profit dropped to Rs 1,117 crore from Rs 1,436 crore a year ago. Earnings were lower than Rs 1,523 crore in the previous quarter. The Street had expected profit of about Rs 1,260 crore in the three months ended December.
Net interest costs for the quarter more than doubled to Rs 1,360 crore from Rs 492 crore a year earlier, largely on account of debt taken to buy spectrum last year. The company’s consolidated net debt increased to $11.91 billion from $10.77 billion in the previous quarter.
“Our strong rollout of 3G/4G sites has resulted in acceleration of data usage growth to 73.3 per cent along with data ARPU (average revenue per user) reaching Rs 200,” said MD and CEO, India & South Asia, Gopal Vittal, in a statement.
Airtel, almost a third owned by Singapore Telecommunications, has been offering 4G services at 3G rates to attract more data customers over the past few months. Data now accounts for almost a quarter of the carrier’s mobile revenue at 23.1 per cent, compared with 16.2 per cent a year ago.
Mobile data revenue in the country during the quarter grew 50.6 per cent on year to Rs 3,183 crore.Bharti’s India unit saw an on-quarter 17 per cent rise in mobile data traffic and a hike of four per cent in ARPU. It registered a six per cent fall in data realisation per MB due to increasing competition, which led to a reduction in data rates.
Voice rates, too, are on a downward trend across the industry, thanks to intense competition. The company’s voice business continued to reel under pressure despite a sequential growth of three per cent in total minutes on the network, with ARPU falling two per cent and average realisation from voice services per minute also dipping two per cent.