Kolkata: Bharti Airtel’s record post-paid subscriber additions over the past two quarters underline the limited impact of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s recently spruced up post-paid offerings, according to analysts. This implies that the Sunil Mittal-led telecom operator is ahead in the race for premium users and on course to maintain double-digit revenue growth even without raising tariffs amid sustained growth in 4G subscribers and increased utility of fast broadband during the pandemic, they said.

“Airtel’s 0.7 million post-paid customer additions in the December quarter, and a total 1.4 million in the last six months, which as per the management is at a decadal high, indicate the negligible impact of Jio’s new post-paid plans,” JM Financial said in a note seen by ET.

In September last year, Jio had unleashed new, cheaper post-paid plans in a concerted bid to grab the higher-paying customers of India’s older telcos. But the leading telco has so far been unable to rock Bharti Airtel’s boat on this score, said analysts.

This is due to Bharti Airtel’s “superior market execution”, they said, and the fact that its post-paid users are primarily enterprise customers who focus less on pricing and more on sustained track record of services delivery. Post-paid users make up about 5% of Airtel’s mobile subscriber base and nearly 25% of its India wireless services revenue. At a sectoral level, postpaid users garner around 20% of mobile user revenues.
Expansion in Airtel user base shows limited impact of Reliance Jio’s offerings

“Airtel’s all-time high post-paid customer additions in the last two quarters despite aggressive offers from competition (Jio)” signal it is poised to sustain double-digit revenue growth even in the absence of tariff hikes, amid rising adoption of data services, said BNP Paribas.

Bharti Airtel’s India mobile revenues grew 6.8% sequentially to ₹14,779 crore in the October-December period and its post-paid user base was almost 16 million. As a result, the telco’s data usage per month rose to 16.4 GB and voice consumption to 1,027 minutes per month during the quarter.

Deutsche Bank said that since being connected has become a necessity, it has resulted in increased utility of broadband, which is why Bharti Airtel users have moved up the curve to become premium users, reflected in strong net growth in post-paid subscribers in the quarter.




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