Indicating a strong resurgence, Bharti Airtel has for the first time beaten Reliance Jio, both in terms of data and voice usage per customer, while also narrowing the gap in average revenue per user (ARPU) in fourth quarter of FY19.
Airtel’s ARPU for fourth quarter stood at `123, which is just a tad lower than Rs 126.2 of Reliance Jio.
Sharing details for the January-March quarter, Airtel said its data usage per customer increased 4.9% to 11.04 GB, compared to 10.5 GB in the preceding quarter, whereas voice usage per customer increased to 858 minutes, against 726 minutes in third quarter.
Reliance Jio, which has been leading both in data and voice usage per customer since the commercial launch of services in September 2016, reported an average data consumption per user at 10.9 GB and average voice consumption per user at 823 minutes for fourth quarter of FY19.
Bharti Airtel has reported a surprise consolidated net profit of Rs 107.2 crore during the January-March quarter, up 24.36% compared to the preceding quarter, on the back of a one-time gain of Rs 2,022 crore.
Incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been facing competitive pressure from Reliance Jio for the last several quarters and the telcos have been making various efforts to get back in good health.
To improve their profitability, the operators last year decided to weed out low revenue paying subscribers by making it compulsory for everybody to do a minimum recharge of Rs 35 per month.
As a result of this, Bharti Airtel lost some 48 million users in the October-December period and 1.5 million users in the January-March quarter.
Vodafone Idea removed some 35 million users in third quarter and 53 million in fourth quarter.
As a result of the initiative, ARPU of Airtel has improved to 123 in fourth quarter from Rs 104 in the preceding quarter while Vodafone Idea’s ARPU during fourth quarter jumped to `104 from `89 in the preceding quarter.