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Bharti Airtel’s Q4 takeaways: Cost cutting saves margins, ARPU figures disappoint

MUMBAI: ’s March quarter earnings left much to be desired as far as analysts’ expectations go as the company underperformed on most metrics.

The country’s second largest telecom operator reported a 11 per cent sequential drop in consolidated net profit and a 3 per cent fall in revenues for the quarter ended March despite an increase in subscriber bases.

Here are the major talking points from the company’s Q4 numbers:

ARPU shocker

If Reliance Jio Infocomm’s average revenue per user for March quarter was disappointing, Bharti Airtel’s was a shocker. The company reported an ARPU of Rs 145 per user, a 13 per cent sequential fall because of the end of the interconnect charges from January. Analysts, however, expected the number to be around Rs 154 per user.

Cost cuts save margins

Despite the sharp decline in the ARPU figures on a quarter-on-quarter basis, Bharti Airtel reported a 300 basis points sequential expansion in consolidated operating margin to 48.9 per cent, the best in the industry. The strength was aided by a sharp drop in other expenses and access charges during the quarter.

User addition remains healthy

Bharti Airtel is consistently winning over new customers and gaining subscriber market share in the 4th generation mobile telephone space. The company added another 13.7 million new 4G users in the March quarter after 12.9 million new subscribers joined in the December quarter.

Airtel home business shows strength

The telecom operator’s home connectivity business reported a 5 per cent on-year revenue growth and reported the highest sales in three years, largely reflecting the effect of rising work from home in urban India. The company’s focus on re-calibrated offerings and launch of Xstream bundles to accelerate penetration has resulted in the highest ever net addition of 274,000 to reach a total base of 3.07 million.

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