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Bharti Airtel hints at base tariff hike

Thursday, 1 May 2014 - 6:40am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Says will continue to cut discounts and freebies

A day after it posted an 89% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it will continue to reduce discounts and freebies, and may also raise headline tariff.

"We continue to see an opportunity to raise voice realisation through continued cut-back of discounted minutes. We will deter to touch headline tariff but at some point there may be some opportunity to raise headline tariffs," Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO of Bharti Airtel, said at a press briefing.

"With rising costs of diesel, network, spectrum, fibre and rolling out networks, I think there is no question but to reduce discounted minutes," he said.

The operator, which has a user base of over 205.52 million in India, has a headline tariff of 1.2 paise per second.

The operator has been reducing discounts and freebies for almost a couple of years. It however, hiked headline tariff in 20% in 2011-- first time in a decade-- from 1 paisa to 1.2 paise.

The move had halted the cut-throat competition among telecom operators offering dirt cheap tariffs.

Vittal also lauded that clarity has entered the sector.

"I think in the last 15 to 18 months there has been some tremendous amount of regulatory clarity, the auctions that got concluded is one of them... that is actually the positive side of what's happening," he said.

The operator has reported a sharp rise in net profit at Rs 962 crore for the quarter ended March 31 on the back of hiked tariffs and rising data usage.

Its mobile data revenue rose by 93.4% year-on-year across geographies, the company said.

The company's overall customer base too increased 9.1% to 295.9 million across 20 countries year on year. India saw 9.2% growth in customer additions. |

Total average revenue per user (Arpu), on the other hand, rose to Rs 196 against Rs 193. Voice Arpu rose 2% at Rs 162, while data Arpu rose to 43% at Rs 79.

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