The private players in the telecom sector continue to experience the heat from the last entrant Reliance Jio. Bharti Airtel, one of the first to enter the business and a service provider with operations beyond Indian shores has just announced results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019. The company has posted a huge loss of Rs 2,866 crore for the quarter on a revenue of Rs 20,738 crore.
Airtel had posted a profit of Rs 97 crore for the same first quarter of the previous financial year 2018-19. The revenue though has shown a slight improvement from the last year increasing by close to 5%.
The only positive signal the company is giving is its average revenue per user or ARPU of Rs 129 is healthier than the Rs 123 in the previous quarter. ARPU is a parameter used to measure the performance of telecommunications companies. A higher ARPU means that the company has a better way of billing its customers for the services provided.
Airtel has been engaged in gradually weeding out the customers who bring in very low revenue. One way it has done this is by fixing a higher minimum value recharge. The other method adopted is to lure new and existing customers with offers if they moved up the tariff plan. The company has launched the Airtel Thanks programme where the customers get free one-year subscription from Amazon Prime (which costs Rs 999 otherwise) and 3 months subscription of Netflix free when they sign up for these plans. There are other customer loyalty offers to be had as well.
Airtel may continue with the rewards programme with a focus on the ARPU and hope to keep its head above water. The company hopes to do better in the coming quarters.