Days after announcing the reappointment of Gopal Vittal as Managing Director & CEO for a further period of five years ending on January 31, 2028, Bharti Airtel has confirmed to hike the price of its prepaid plans again. This time, the average revenue per user (ARPU) will be set at Rs 200.
“My own sense is that we should start seeing some tariff increases during the course of this year. I do believe that the tariffs at that level are still very low. The first port of call is to get to 200 which will require at least one round of tariff increase,” Vittal said days after his name was cleared for the top job.
Earlier, Airtel said in a notice to the stock exchanges, “We wish to inform you that based on the recommendations of HR & nomination committee and subject to the approval of shareholders, the Board of Directors has approved the re-appointment of Gopal Vittal, Managing Director designated as ‘Managing Director & CEO’ for a further period of five (5) years i.e. from February 01, 2023, to January 31, 2028.”
Vittal is “not debarred from holding the office of director by virtue of any order of SEBI or any other such authority,” Airtel added.
The reappointment came on a day the telco posted a consolidated net profit at Rs 2,007.8 crore in the March quarter, up 141% sequentially and 164% on the year. Analysts had an estimated net profit of around Rs 1,970 crore. This was Airtel’s sixth successive quarter in the black after six straight losses earlier.
The telco’s ARPU, a key performance metric, grew to Rs 178 from Rs 163 in the December quarter. In comparison, market leader Reliance Jio and loss-making Vodafone Idea had clocked ARPUs of Rs167.6 and Rs124, respectively.
Airtel’s consolidated revenue grew 22.3% from the year earlier and 5.5% sequentially to Rs 31,500 crore. In the just-ended quarter, Airtel added 3.12 million users to its mobile business on a net basis to end with 326.04 million users. Monthly churn fell marginally to 2.8% from 2.9% in the preceding quarter, despite the doubling of rates of the base prepaid plans.