Reliance Jio Q3 results: Net profit up 15.5% on qtr; user churn rose due to “malicious” campaign

Reliance Jio Q3 results: Net profit up 15.5% on qtr; user churn rose due to

Mumbai: Jio Platforms’ net profit rose 15.5% sequentially to Rs 3,489 crore in the October-December quarter, backed by higher average revenue per user (ARPU) from its telecom business.

However, net mobile subscriber additions slowed to 5.2 million after users left the network due to what the company called “recent malicious and motivated campaigns” against the Reliance Group in some parts of the country.

Revenue rose 5.3% on quarter to Rs 19,475 crore for JPL, which is helping parent Reliance Industries transform into a technology platform company from an oil-and-retail conglomerate.

JPL, established in October 2019 as a wholly owned unit of Reliance, houses the Mukesh Ambani-owned group’s telecom business Reliance Jio Infocomm, the largest in the country, and other digital properties and investments.

Jio, which makes up the bulk of JPL’s numbers, saw its fiscal third-quarter revenue rise to Rs 18,492 crore from Rs 17,481 crore in the previous quarter and Rs 13,968 crore a year ago. Its net profit came in at Rs3,291 crore, up nearly 16% sequentially, and from a reported Rs831 crore a year ago.

“Jio will continue to accelerate the rollout of its digital platforms and indigenously developed next generation 5G stack and make it affordable and available everywhere,” Reliance chairman Ambani said in a statement on Friday. “Jio is determined to make India 2G-mukt, thereby empowering every Indian to have an affordable smartphone and be a part of digital and data revolution.”

Jio’s ARPU – a key performance metric – rose to Rs 151 from Rs 145 in the previous quarter. The telco ended the quarter with 410.8 million users.

Jio’s ARPU gains were driven by sustained growth in the overall volume of mobile recharges, countrywide distribution channels becoming fully operational and surging data consumption as people continued to work from home, said Rohan Dhamija, partner & head (India & Middle East) at Analysys Mason.

However, the farmers’ agitation in Punjab and Haryana dented the telco’s pace of subscriber additions.

“Total customer gross addition was robust at 25.1 million despite Covid-related constraints and local issues… Higher churn during the quarter at 1.63% was due to continued impact of Covid and recent malicious and motivated campaigns against Reliance Group in select geographies,” JPL said, referring to Jio’s numbers.

A senior analyst at a global brokerage said the farmers’ agitation in Punjab, despite being a key market for Jio, was only “partly responsible” for the slowdown in Jio’s customer additions.

“If anything, Jio’s modest 4G customer adds suggest that rival Bharti Airtel is benefitting more from the continuing subscriber churn at Vodafone Idea, which is possibly now translating in bigger customer market share gains for the Sunil Mittal-led telco, especially amid the reduced intensity of price wars,” the analyst said.

Jio strategy head Anshuman Thakur said at a virtual press briefing that the impact of Covid-19 and the malicious campaigns was “reducing now.”

He added that the telco was the leader in 18 of the country’s 22 telecom zones and was a close second in Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.

JPL’s ebitda margin expanded to 43.6% from 43.1% in the previous quarter.

Thakur said average wireless data consumption per user per month rose to 12.9 GB from 12 GB in the fiscal second quarter. Average voice consumption climbed to 796 minutes per user per month from 776 minutes.

Since April 2020, JPL has raised over Rs 1.52 lakh crore from 13 global investors, including Facebook and Google for a cumulative equity stake of 32.96%.

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