India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel reported that its net income almost doubled for the fiscal year ending 31 March, maintaining the growth momentum from Q3 when its profit jumped 135 per cent.
Its profit rose 87 per cent to INR51.8 billion ($811 million) for the year, with revenue rising 7.3 per cent to INR920 billion. India turnover increased 12 per cent to INR645 billion, with mobile representing 80 per cent of that. Non-voice revenue accounted for 23.7 per cent of mobile revenue – up from 17.4 per cent a year ago.
The company saw sharp gains in data revenue across all regions, but continued pressure on voice pushed aggregated ARPU down except in India. Mobile data turnover in Q4 grew 60 per cent from the previous year.
Airtel, which has operations in 20 countries, said its customer base increased by almost 29 million to 324.4 million.
In its home market it added 8.8 million subscribers, taking its total to 226 million (giving it a 23 per cent market share). Data customers increased 30 per cent to 46 million. Voice ARPU fell 7 per cent to INR151, but data ARPU rose 30 per cent to INR176. Data per subscriber expanded 41 per cent to 656MB. Monthly churn fell to 2.5 per cent from 2.7 per cent a year ago.
Revenues from digital TV services in India increased by 19 per cent to INR24.7 billion, with its customer base growing 11.8 per cent to 10.1 million from a year ago.
The company’s subscriber base in 17 African countries grew 10 per cent to 76.2 million, with data customers increasing 30 per cent to 36 million. Non-voice revenue accounted for a quarter of turnover. Data ARPU rose 5 per cent, but voice ARPU fell 15 per cent, pushing overall ARPU down 20 per cent to $4.40. Total revenue from the region fell one per cent to INR269 billion.
The company’s MD and CEO for Africa, Christian de Faria, said Airtel Africa grew revenues by 7.5 per cent in constant currency terms during FY14-15 amidst rather tough economic conditions.
There its customer base grew by 6.8 million and the Airtel Money customer base expanded by 2.7 million. “With 3G operations now in all 17 countries and with 3,088 new 3G sites, data revenues have increased by 61.3 per cent in constant currency terms,” he said.
Its operations in South Asia (Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) saw no growth to mobile connections and revenue fell 9 per cent to INR15.8 billion. Data customers rose 13 per cent to 3.5 million and data ARPU increased 43 per cent to INR49. But aggregate ARPU fell 14 per cent to INR149 due to the continued decline in voice revenue. Non-voice revenue accounted for 21.7 per cent of the total, up 17.6 per cent from last year.
The company’s capex last fiscal year increased 76 per cent to INR186 billion. India accounted for 63 per cent of the total, with capex increasing 94 per cent from the previous year. There it added almost 8,000 base stations, taking its total to nearly 150,000 – one-third of which are 3G.
In last month’s spectrum auction in India, Airtel spent a total of INR291 billion for 111.6MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.1GHz bands.
Its EBITDA margin rose 1.7 points to 34.2 per cent.