NEW DELHI :
Bharti Airtel reported a fall in its average revenue per user (ARPU) in the September quarter, with growth in its subscriber base outpacing revenue growth from mobile services in India.
Airtel recorded an ARPU of ₹128 in the September quarter, down from ₹129 in the June quarter. ARPU is the total revenue of an operator divided by the number of users, or connections, on its network.
Airtel’s revenue from mobile services in India was ₹10,811 crore in the three months ended 30 September, up from ₹10,724 crore in the June quarter. Its subscriber base grew from 276.81 million in the preceding quarter to 279.43 million in the September quarter.
Reliance Jio also recorded a drop in ARPU in the September quarter. Its ARPU fell to ₹120 with 355.2 million users as of September end, from ₹122 with 331.3 million users as of June end. Vodafone Idea has not announced operational highlights or financial statements for the quarter.
Bharti Airtel on Tuesday also said that it has postponed the announcement of its financial results for the September quarter from 29 October to 14 November, as the company awaits clarity on the recent Supreme Court verdict. It will also approach the department of telecommunications (DoT) for clarity on the total amount due. The company, thus, restricted itself to sharing the operational highlights for the quarter.
Last week, the top court upheld the government’s broader definition of revenue, on which it calculates levies on telecom operators, dealing a ₹92,000 crore blow to the telecom industry, which is already burdened with falling tariffs and mounting debt.
The apex court rejected the definition of the adjusted gross revenue proposed by telecom operators and excluded revenue from non-core telecom operations, such as rent, dividend and interest income. The order marked the end of a 14-year legal tussle between the DoT and operators.
Telcos will now have to pay the government ₹92,000 crore in spectrum and licence fee dues, plus interest that has accrued over these years. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, the companies that survived the brutal consolidation witnessed in the sector over the past three years, and posted a loss in the June quarter, have been the worst hit by the order.
Bharti Airtel also saw an increase in data consumption on its network in the three months ended September. Data usage per customer rose from 11.9 GB in the June quarter to 13.1 GB in the September quarter.