India's Bharti Airtel posts 22% rise in quarterly revenue

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A Bharti Airtel office building is pictured in Gurugram

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Bharti Airtel, India's second-biggest telecom operator, on Monday reported a 22.2% increase in quarterly revenue, boosted by 4G subscriber additions and higher data consumption.

Average revenue per user (ARPU)– a key performance indicator in the telecom industry – came in at 183 rupees ($2.30) for the quarter, up from 146 rupees from a year earlier. ARPU of rivals Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea for the same period was 175.7 rupees and 128 rupees, respectively.

Analysts expected first-quarter ARPU to be boosted by a residual impact of tariff increase done late last year.

The company's consolidated revenue from operations rose to 328.05 billion rupees ($4.12 billion) for the quarter ended June 30, from 268.54 billion rupees in the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing. (https://bit.ly/3A4ZdGj)

Airtel said mobile data consumption surged by 16.6% from a year ago, with consumption per mobile data customer at 19.5 GB per month. (https://bit.ly/3zzZTSC)

The company said in November, when it announced tariff hikes, that mobile ARPU needed to be at 200 rupees and ultimately at 300 rupees, for a financially healthy business model.

Consolidated net profit rose to 16.07 billion rupees for the quarter ended June 30, from 2.84 billion rupees a year ago.

The company has been raising money to fund its digital ambitions, including developing home broadband, data centres, cloud adoption as it prepares to launch its next-generation 5G services in the country.

Airtel last week won 5G spectrum worth $5.4 billion in the country's $19 billion auction. The government aims to begin the rollout of 5G - which it says can provide data speeds about 10 times faster than 4G - by October this year.

($1 = 79.5930 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)