Bharti net up 42% on new users

Written by Rishi Raj | New Delhi, Jan 30 | Updated: Jan 31 2008, 06:17am hrs
Thanks to a rising subscriber base, the countrys largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, on Wednesday announced a 42% jump in net profit to Rs 1,722 crore, for the quarter ended December 31. The companys net profit for the corresponding period in the previous fiscal was Rs 1,215 crore.

Topline growth year-on-year was up 42%, with total revenues during the period at Rs 6,964 crore, against last years Rs 4,913 crore. Growth was driven by a nearly 50% rise in the mobile services business unit.

During the quarter, there was a net addition of 6.39 million mobile users, its highest ever, taking the total mobile subscriber base to 55.16 million. Bhartis marketshare in the wireless segment is 23.6%, against 21.8% in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

In an exclusive interview with FE, Akhil Gupta, group managing director, and Manoj Kohli, president & CEO, said going forward the company would strengthen its position in the wireless market as it expects CDMA subscribers to migrate to it.

CDMA subscribers are very vulnerable with operators moving over to GSM technology. Obviously, CDMA subscribers would want to come over to the market leader, Gupta said. We would hugely benefit from mobile number portability as more and more CDMA subscribers would move over to us, added Kohli.

Even though the companys margins on fell by 20 basis points on account of higher access charges, licence fees and network expansion costs, Gupta said, The moment taxes and levies in the telecom sector are reduced and the access deficit charge is abolished from March 1, we will pass on the benefit to consumers.

In retail, into which holding company Bharti Enterprises is foraying in partnership with Wal-Mart of the US, Gupta said that some stores would be opened in the next quarter. He said that the companys stores would be different from those of competitors, but declined to share details.

According to Gupta, expansion of the telecom business overseas is on the agenda.