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Bharti Airtel CEO discusses 5G, Vodafone Idea, tariffs, and more

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In Short:

Bharti Airtel, a major Indian telecom company, expects its spending to decrease from FY25 onwards. During FY24, the company invested heavily in 5G rollout, driving up expenditure. Airtel responded to market trends with an unlimited 5G data offer. The company aims to increase average revenue per user to Rs 300 through multiple tariff hikes. CEO Vittal supports Vodafone Idea’s fundraising efforts and envisions a three-player telecom market in India.

bharti airtel ceo on unlimited 5g vodafone

Bharti Airtel, a leading Indian telecom company, has announced that its capital expenditure (capex) is expected to moderate from FY25 onwards. Gopal Vittal, the CEO of Bharti Airtel, stated during the fourth-quarter investor call that FY24 marked the peak level of capex and it will start decreasing from FY25. The rollout of 5G in various parts of the country during FY24 contributed to the increase in capex.

Airtel on Unlimited 5G Data Offer

Gopal Vittal discussed the unlimited 5G data offer and mentioned that Airtel responded to market trends, specifically in response to the unlimited 5G offer by Jio. This one-size-fits-all offer eliminates the need for individuals to pay more for data. He expressed hope that industry “sanity prevails.”

Airtel on Tariff Hike

Vittal addressed the topic of tariff hikes, stating that Airtel can only implement them if competitors do the same; otherwise, it could negatively impact Airtel’s customer base. Airtel’s current average revenue per user (ARPU) stands at Rs 209 as of the end of Q4 FY24. The company’s target is to reach an ARPU of Rs 300 through multiple rounds of tariff hikes.

Airtel CEO’s Remarks on Vodafone Idea

Gopal Vittal expressed satisfaction with Vodafone Idea raising funds and wishes them success. He believes that India should have three major telecom players, referring to Vodafone Idea raising Rs 18,000 crore through a follow-on public offer (FPO).

Airtel on 5G FWA or Airtel Xstream AirFiber

Vittal confirmed that Airtel is deploying 5G standalone architecture for fixed wireless access (FWA) services. Although the 5G SA rollout is not widespread currently, it appears to be the direction that the company is moving towards. Airtel plans to establish 25,000 new mobile sites in the upcoming quarters, with fewer new sites this year compared to previous years as the company looks to decrease capex.

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