Bharti Airtel has announced that, it now has more than 200 million, or 20 crore customers in India. This includes its entire customer base across all its service platforms in India including mobile services, fixed line, broadband and direct-to-home (DTH). On the same day, the company posted a quarterly net profit of Rs. 7.62 billion, 37% less than the same period last year. This was the telecommunication giant’s 10th consecutive decline in profits.
While the first 10 crore subscribes came after the company’s 14 years of operations but the next 10 crore came in just 3 years!
The staggering count of 20 crore subscribers is approximately made up of 18.7 crore subscribers to its cellular services, just over 30 lakh subscribers to its Telemedia services including DSL broadband and fixed line, and nearly 75 lakh DTH subscribers.
All these numbers make Airtel India’s largest and the world’s 3rd largest mobile services operator. In June itself, more than 20 lakh new subscribers were added to Airtel’s cellular networks across India.
Airtel’s subscriber base of massive proportions does not merely end at the domestic market. On foreign shores, the company has significant presence in 20 markets including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Uganda and Seychelles to name a few.
Airtel is a prominent player in many African markets and during the quarter ending 30 June 2012, the company rolled out 3G services in 7 and launched Airtel Money in 4 African countries. According to its latest quarterly report, Airtel’s worldwide customer base is nearly 261 billion.
In the early nineties, the Sunil Mittal headed Bharti Telecom Limited won licenses to create a GSM network in Delhi. By 2000, services were extended to Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Chennai. Soon enough, in 2002, Bharti Enterprises Ltd went public and expanded its mobile networks to cover the entire country. The last few years have been frantic for the telecom industry in India which Airtel has been a part of. In 2010, Airtel bid for, and won many 3G spectrums. It has also revamped its image by launching a new logo in the same year.
In 2011, the company launched its 3G services and later brought the iPhone 4 to India. In 2012, Airtel launched Airtel Money and became the first Indian company to take its airwaves 4G by launching it in Kolkata.
Despite the growth story and impressive statistics to match, Bharti Airtel’s results for Q1 FY13 were labeled as ‘disappointing’ by the analysts. A net profit of Rs. 7.2 billion was 37% less on a YOY basis and a 23% drop from the previous quarter.
As this post comes to you, Bharti Airtel Ltd share price dropped nearly 6.4% to Rs. 256.85, a 2 year low. Competition from rivals and newer players, licensing woes, margin on tariffs and heavy capital costs of providing latest technology on airwaves are thought to be some of the factors weaving the decline in profit.