Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s largest and only profitable telecom operator, posted a net profit of Rs 1,350 crore in the December quarter, up 62.5% year-on-year, as the company raised tariffs and data consumption surged on the back of more subscribers onboarding the network.
The company’s operating revenue rose 28.3% year on year to Rs 13,968 crore. Its average revenue per user has risen after successive declines over the last seven quarters as the company started charging 6 paise per minute for calls made to rival networks. ARPU stood at Rs 128.4 with 370 million subscribers of December end.
ARPU is the total revenue of the operator divided by the number of users or connections on its network. From Rs 154 in the December 2017 quarter, Jio’s ARPU fell 15.6% to Rs 130 in the same quarter in 2018 and to Rs 126.2 in the March 2019 quarter. It was Rs 122 in the June quarter and Rs 120 in the September quarter.
Rival Airtel’s ARPU also fell to Rs 128 in the September quarter from Rs 129 in the June quarter. Vodafone Idea’s ARPU for the September quarter was Rs 107. Airtel and Vodafone Idea are yet to announce financial results for the December quarter. Vodafone Idea’s loss for the September quarter was at Rs 50,922 crore the highest in India’s corporate history. Airtel, too, reported its highest quarterly loss in 14 years at Rs 23,045 crore in the quarter ended September.
The companies reported record losses as they set aside money to pay dues to the government after the Supreme Court upheld the government’s definition of revenue, which defined adjusted gross revenue as all revenues of a license holder, including those from non-core telecom operations such as rent, dividend, and interest income. License and spectrum charges are calculated at 8% and 3-5% of AGR, respectively.