CEO’s Message

Airtel has a simple strategy. Focus on winning with high quality customers. Identify the micromarkets in which these customers are and win their hearts through a brilliant experience and aspirational brand. This focus is underpinned and driven by the scale of our digital platforms. We believe that this strategy has worked for us.

 

Dear Shareholders,


The Financial Year 2019-20 was an unprecedented year for the telecom industry. The COVID-19 outbreak in the last quarter has impacted both the human health and financial wellbeing of our society. The exceptional circumstances have brought to the fore the essential role of telecom industry in fueling the economic engine of the country. At the same time, we are seeing a fundamental shift in consumer behavior which in turn has opened up a new realm of opportunities for us.


Airtel has a simple strategy. Focus on winning with high quality customers. Identify the micro-markets in which these customers are and win their hearts through a brilliant experience and aspirational brand. This focus is underpinned and driven by the scale of our digital platforms. We believe that this strategy has worked for us. It is reflected in not only our performance over the last year, but also in our ability to remain resilient through the COVID-19 crisis.


Quality Customers


We have been consistently focused on acquiring and retaining quality customers. The fact that we realized full impact of the tariff hike that the industry had taken in December, reflects the resilience and quality of our mobile customer base. Further, our 4G customer additions saw a massive growth during the year – we added 50M 4G customers and our ARPU increased from H123 to H154. We saw strong net additions in our Broadband and DTH business as well. In our Enterprise business, we continued to strengthen our relationship with businesses and have built a reputation for ensuring that their data remains secure and safe. Going forward, we are focused on leveraging our One Airtel proposition to drive synergies across our portfolio. And will build greater value for our customers by offering services and propositions in line with the evolving customer behavior.


Brilliant Experience


Our performance was made possible due to our obsession with delivering an exceptional experience to our customers. This was enabled through three factors. First, expansion of access – we added more than 13,000 sites during the year and over 86,000 mobile broadband base stations. Second – Technology – we deployed a range of technologies – densification of our networks, massive MIMOs, shut down of 3G networks so as to re-farm the spectrum to 4G and launch of Voice over WiFi, which has dramatically improved indoor experience. Thirdly, substantial capacity has been added to the core and transport infrastructure. Despite this, we know we are not perfect and we will continue to be obsessed about experience – we will further expand our coverage (especially in rural areas), will eliminate faults and above all, we will be transparent with our customers about what we can and cannot do.


Digital Platforms


There are four key pillars that we have as a telco and we have platformatized each of these strengths. First is Data – Our customers trust us with an incredible amount of data that is consolidated into one powerful and intelligent platform. The second strength is Distribution – we have access to over 280 Mn mobile customers, over 18 Mn Homes, 2,000 large corporates and over a million small businesses. More than 150 Mn of these customers are now engaged with us digitally across our Thanks, Wynk and Xstream apps. Third is Payments – we are one of the few businesses that has the ability to collect payments from customers, be it digitally or in the form of cash – we have more than 1 Mn retailers connected with us digitally through our ‘Mitra’ app. Finally, our Network and location based understanding which provides us incredible capability to deliver value to our customers. We have used these platforms to strengthen our core businesses – to acquire more customers, to upgrade them and to reduce churn. Leveraging these strengths, we have also built the foundation of several new businesses like Data Center. Our path forward is to extend the power of these platforms to our partners and deliver a range of services to our customers, while building new revenue streams for us.


And all of this has been made possible because of our People. I have been privileged to hear innumerable stories of how our employees have gone above and beyond their roles to make sure that we keep the nation connected, at a time when it mattered the most.


Lastly, as an organization, we continue to be committed to sustainable and inclusive growth. Bharti Foundation has been doing remarkable work to spread awareness about education and empowerment of girl child.


I would like to thank our customers, our people, our partners and our shareholders for their support and faith in us. We seek your continued guidance in our journey.