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Airtel’s Recovery Against Jio Starts: Posts Highest Number Of New Users In Q1

Airtel has announced their quarterly results and while their profits are down significantly, they have added highest number of users in the quarter and data usage has grown 3 times over the past year!

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Airtel Mobile Prepaid New offers Plans

Ever since Reliance Jio disrupted the Indian telecom sector with their free calls and free data, existing players have been complaining about losses. In fact, during Q4 of 2016, telecom players collectively lost Rs 37,000 crore+ due to the Jio impact, and Airtel, which is still India’s largest telecom operator posted their first ever dip in consolidated profit, in the last 4 years.

But now, after Jio introduced their paid plans for existing customers, things are stabilizing, and the game of revenue-profits are returning to normal. Almost.

Airtel has just released their Q1 results for FY 2018 (period: April, May, June 2017), and the results showcase the recovery which they have made.

Although profits are down by 75%, compared to last year, revenues are slightly impacted, and there is a surprise increase in new users as well, which is their highest quarterly increase ever.

Besides, one very important development has happened, which proves that Airtel will rebound and recover even stronger in the next quarter: Average data usage has increased by a healthy proportion, albeit average revenue per user has dipped.

More data usage means that Airtel will earn money sooner or later from data usage, which had been their primary mode of monetization in the pre-Jio era as well.

Market has clearly understood the dynamics, as shares of Airtel surged by 1.76% on BSE to reach Rs 427.60 at the close of yesterday’s market. On Sensex, Airtel dipped by marginal 0.05% to reach 32,228.27 points.

Airtel’s Q1 FY18 Results: 10 Major Highlights

Yes, the numbers are negative all around, but there is a positive spin in the midst, which we discussed above.

Now, coming to the exact numbers, here are the highlights:

  • – Net consolidated income was Rs 367 crore, compared to Rs 1462 crore a year earlier
  • – EBITDA – Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization at Rs 7,823 crore, which is 18.4% less that last year (Rs 9,591 crore)
  • – Revenue down to Rs 21,958 crore from Rs 25,546 crore a year earlier
  • – Net debt down to Rs 87,840 crore, compared to Rs 91,400 crore in Q4? 2017
  • – Average revenue per user is Rs 156, compared to Rs 162 in the last quarter
  • – Data Revenue is Rs 3,765 crore, which is 21% of their overall mobile revenues from India
  • – Voice realisation per minute stands at 21.98 in Q1 2018 compared to 24.28 paise in Q4 2017
  • – Data realisation per MB stands at 5.97 paise in Q1 2018 compared to 12.2 paise in Q4 2017 (decrease of 51%)
  • – 5.2 million new users in this quarter, their highest net additions in a quarter
  • – Income from African operations at $52 million net income, compared to $78 million loss last year

Interestingly, Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel’s chief executive and managing director for India and South Asia region, has showcased a negative tone while announcing the results, sticking to the old rhetoric of ‘new entrants’ taking away their profits.

In the statement, he said, “The pricing disruption in the Indian telecom market caused by the entry of a new operator continued with industry revenues declining over 15% Y-o-Y, creating further stress on sector profitability, cash flows and leverage.”

You can find the full results for Q1, FY 2018 here.

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