Airtel revenue yet to show recovery after Jio launch

Mobile service provider Bharti Airtel announced the financial results for its India and Africa telecom business for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2018.

The company’s India mobile business performance was affected by the launch of Reliance Jio in September 2016 and the subsequent competitive pressure from Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Airtel said its total revenues fell 5.4 percent to Rs 19,634 crore in Q4 fiscal 2018. Airtel’s total mobile data traffic rose 505 percent to 1,616 million MBs in the fourth quarter.
Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal on 4GTotal EBITDA fell 12 percent to Rs 7,034 crore. EBITDA margin dipped 0.6 percent to 35.8 percent in the quarter as compared to 36.4 percent. EBIT dropped 29 percent to Rs 2,106 crore. Net Income after exceptional items for the quarter was Rs 83 crore compared to Rs 373 crore in Q4 fiscal 2018 and Rs 306 crore in Q3 fiscal 2018.

Airtel India in Q4

Airtel India said local India revenues fell 7.5 percent to Rs 14,796 crore primarily impacted by mobile drop of 13.5 percent.

Airtel India’s other business achieved 10.7 percent growth in Digital TV and 11.2 percent growth in Airtel Business.

Mobile data traffic has grown more than 6x to 1,540 billion MBs in the quarter as compared to 225 billion MBs.

Mobile broadband customers of Airtel India rose 79.3 percent to 76.6 million from 42.7 million. For comparison, Reliance Jio has more than 160 million 4G subscribers in the country.

Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia, said: “The telecom industry witnessed below cost, artificially suppressed pricing. Industry revenues were further adversely impacted this quarter due to the reduction in International termination rates.”

Airtel’s annual capital expenditure (Capex) was Rs 240 billion during the last 12 months. The strategy of Airtel is to build market leading 4G networks, with best data speeds and capacity to meet Digital India initiatives.

Airtel Africa in Q4

Airtel Africa revenues grew 10.7 percent led by 88 percent growth in data to 70 billion MBs and Airtel money transaction value.

Data customers of Airtel Africa increased 48 percent to 24.9 million from 16.9 million. Airtel Money customer base increased to 11.5 million, boosting the total transaction value on Airtel Money platform by 45 percent to $5.6 billion.

Airtel Africa achieved 10.3 percent improvement of EBITDA margin to 35.9 percent.

Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO, Airtel Africa, said: “Airtel Africa’s revenues grew by 10.7 percent. Data traffic grew 88 percent, voice minutes increased by 37 percent and Airtel Money throughput grew by 45 percent.”