Bharti Airtel’s majority investments to be in 5G even with limited monetization: Gopal Vittal – Moneycontrol

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Bharti Airtel

Vittal said that tariff repair is needed for return ratios to improve and it doesn’t matter from which technology the ratios improve.

Bharti Airtel’s majority of capacity investments will be in 5G going ahead, even though it has limited monetization, said Gopal Vittal, managing director of Bharti Airtel. The telecom company has also stopped capacity investments in 4G.

“There is limited monetization on 5G, but we see it is as overall return of the business. So today, all the capacity investments are going behind 5G and we have stopped investing on any capacity investments on 4G,” said Vittal in the company’s Q4FY24 earnings conference call. He further said that the return that the industry really needs is predicated on tariff repair.

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Vittal said that tariff repair is needed for return ratios to improve and it doesn’t matter from which technology the ratios improve.

Also read: Glad to see Vodafone Idea raise money; India to benefit from 3 strong private telcos, says Airtel’s Gopal Vittal

Free 5G data is causing challenges in monetization despite some headwinds, the official added. “It is a competitive market and we have responded to what is happening in the market place and hopefully at some point, we will see if the sanity prevails,” said Vittal.

“…the architecture of pricing in India is quite broken because people who can afford to pay a lot more are paying a lot less simply because of these unlimited plans, which are like effectively a one-size-fits-all plan. If you look at markets like Indonesia or Thailand or any of the markets in Asia, you’ll find small, medium, large, extra large, and there’s a pathway to monetization. That unfortunately is not the case in India, but this is not something that we can do alone. This needs to be something that we would be happy to follow if this happens,” said Vittal.

The management said that Free Wireless Access (FWA) was launched in 25 cities and expects full FWA impact in Q2FY25 with the launch of SA-led FWA expansion. “As of now, we are gearing up to make sure that the velocity of this increases,” said Vittal.

Bharti Airtel reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 2,072 crore in Q4FY24, down 31.1 percent from the year-ago period.

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Its consolidated revenue was at Rs 37,599 crore, up 4.4 percent from the previous year, impacted by the devaluation of African currencies during the period, particularly Nigerian Naira, the telecom operator said a day earlier.

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