India's Bharti Airtel posts higher revenue on data usage, user adds

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FILE PHOTO: A girl checks her mobile phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building in Gurugram

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian wireless carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd reported a 13% rise in second-quarter revenue on Tuesday, boosted by additions in its 4G subscriber base, higher data consumption, and stronger revenue per user.

The company's average revenue per user (ARPU) — a key performance indicator in the telecoms industry — came in at 153 rupees for the second quarter, up from 143 rupees a year ago. Rival Reliance Jio's ARPU for the same period was 143.6 rupees.

Airtel, the country's second-largest telecom firm by subscriber base, has benefited from higher user additions and a jump in data usage due to remote working trends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It added 8.1 million 4G users in the second quarter from the previous quarter to touch 192.5 million subscribers — making it 60% of its overall customer case. Mobile data consumption, the company said, surged by 47.5% from a year ago.

The company had also undertaken some hikes in its tariffs earlier this year. In July, it scrapped the entry-level prepaid recharge of 49 rupees and set the base plan at 79 rupees.

Airtel's consolidated revenue from operations was 283.26 billion rupees ($3.79 billion) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 250.60 billion rupees a year ago, according to its exchange filing. Analysts on average had expected revenue of 277.73 billion rupees.

Its net profit for the second quarter was 11.34 billion rupees, compared with a loss of 7.63 billion rupees in the same period last year.

Airtel, during the quarter, had also said it would invest 50 billion rupees to expand its data centre business to meet customer demand in and around India.

($1 = 74.7300 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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