Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal on Wednesday asserted that Average Revenue Per User (ARPUs) rising to Rs 300-level is "critical" for respectable return of capital employed, and hoped that it will "happen in due course". The top honcho also outlined the 'future of Airtel' strategy entailing broad themes around a resilient and diverse portfolio, rural push into high-potential villages, and opportunities in the top 150 cities, among others.
"We believe that ARPU needs to go up and the ARPU of Rs 300 is critical for a respectable return of capital employed. And that is something, we hope will happen in due course of time," Vittal said during an analyst call, a day after the company reported its Q3 FY23 scorecard. After Haryana and Odisha, Bharti Airtel has raised entry-level tariffs from Rs 99 to Rs 155 in 17 circles now.
"We took up tariff of entry-level plans from Rs 99 to Rs 155. We are pleased it exceeded our standards in Haryana and Odisha...We have taken this across 17 circles in the country," Vittal said. The telco on Tuesday reported a 91.5 per cent year-on-year rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,588 crore for the three months ended December 2022, helped by growth across businesses.
Total revenue rose nearly 20 per cent to Rs 35,804 crore in the third quarter of the current financial year "backed by strong and consistent performance delivery across the portfolio", the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Its consolidated net income (after exceptional items) stood at Rs 1,588 crore for the third quarter, translating into an increase of 91.5 per cent year-on-year.
The consolidated net income (before exceptional items) was at Rs 1,994 crore, up 147 per cent compared to the year-ago period. India Mobile ARPU increased to Rs 193 during the reporting quarter from Rs 163 in December 2021 quarter, according to the company. The company had reported ARPU of Rs 190 in the 2022 September quarter. To a question during analyst call, Vittal emphasised that tariff hikes cannot be done unilaterally. "If we did it and lost marketshare then to claw that marketshare back will be far more difficult," Vittal said.