Riding on a phenomenal growth of subscriber numbers, Bharti Airtel’s net profit climbed 100 per cent to Rs 1,512 crore in the first quarter of 2007-08 from Rs 755 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
During the quarter, Bharti’s revenues increased by 53 per cent to Rs 5,905 crore from Rs 3,856 crore during the corresponding quarter of 2006-07. The company added 5.7 million subscribers during the quarter to reach a base of 44.67 million on June 30, an increase of 82 per cent year on year.
However, the average revenue per user declined to Rs 390 in the first quarter of 2007-08 from Rs 441 in the same quarter last year, while average usage time increased to 478 minutes per subscriber from 441 minutes a year ago.
Despite the strong showing, the company’s share price declined by 2.28 per cent to Rs 925.25 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday from the previous day close of Rs 946.80, which was an all-time high.
“Bharti Airtel has maintained the growth momentum and further consolidated its market leadership in the wireless segment. We believe that the India telecom sector is entering the next phase of growth. We will continue to expand our network aggressively to enhance penetration in rural markets and be at the forefront of this growth," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Airtel.
Bharti plans to set up 30,000 wireless towers in the year to March 31, 2008. The company's network covered 62 per cent of the country on June 30, up from 46 per cent a year ago. Bharti, which has earmarked $3.5 billion in capital expenditure for 2007-08, also saw an increase in its cellphone market share to 23.5 per cent during the quarter from 21.1 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The company recently awarded multi-billion dollar contracts to global telecom vendors such as Nokia-Siemens and Ericsson to expand its network more rapidly.