Hyper-competition in India is hurting the country’s largest cellco, with Bharti Airtel’s revenue per minute (RPM) plummeting 7.2% in the December quarter compared with the previous quarter.
“The company saw a 0.8% quarter on quarter decline in MoU compared with a 3.1% quarter on quarter increase for Idea,” states Credit Suisse. “This, combined with a 7.2% quarter on quarter decline in RPM, led to mobile revenues declining by 1.7% [to 79.6 billion rupees ($1.73b) quarter on quarter.”
Credit Suisse says Bharti’s fall in mobile revenues was in line with expectations.
However, the firm’s mobile ebitda fell 3% to 24.2 billion rupees for the period, despite subscribers rising from 110.5 million in September to 118.9 million in December.
Bharti said it had snared 15.9% of total wireless net adds for the period.
“Average monthly churn for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 was 1.9% (1.0% voluntary churn and 0.9% company initiated churn) for [the]… post-paid segment, and 6.5% for the prepaid segment.”
Blended ARPU also took a hit, declining from 253 rupees per month to 230 rupees per month.
“ARPUs came in slightly below our estimates as usage elasticity failed to kick in,” said Credit Suisse.
Bharti CEO Manoj Kohli believes the intense competition will continue for a couple more quarters, but expects price stability in the second half of 2010.
"In a hyper-competitive situation like [that which] we are witnessing now in the industry, we have retained our revenue market share at 32% and have a very strong ebitda margin at 40%, which shows our strong performance," Kohli told local press.