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Just as Bharti Airtel crossed the $100 billion market cap on May 27 this year, brokerage firm, CLSA highlighted that the country’s second largest operator has benefitted the most from tariff hikes. On Monday, CLSA noted that between FY20 and FY24, Bharti Airtel experienced a 54 per cent increase in average revenue per user (ARPU), versus Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea which saw a 39 per cent and 37 per cent increase in ARPU respectively. 

As the industry is poised to take another 20 per cent increase in tariffs quite soon, the brokerage expressed positive outlook for the telco as well.  “Bharti’s three key drivers are its high-growth scalable business, strong management and global competitive edge. Leaving aside aberrations, such as investors willing to look beyond Africa currency woes, should reap Bharti’s India growth upside,” the brokerage added. 

Premium ARPU

Bharti Airtel’s strong fundamentals continue to surpass Reliance Jio on many metrics. Even though Jio conducted a subscriber clean-up after its most recent tariff hike, which the industry too nearly two years ago – Bharti’s ARPU continues to be at a premium of Jio. CLSA noted, “Bharti management’s strength is best evidenced by Arpu, which is at a 15% premium to sector leader Reliance Jio. Bharti’s brand, Airtel, is among the most familiar in India and management has been at the forefront of innovation on execution, marketing delivering results in an intensely competitive environment. Management will continue to play a key role in steering strong growth, capitalising on new opportunities in cloud, data centres/enterprise services, 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) homes and generating superior returns.”

As of May, Bharti Airtel has become one of the four Indian firms which has a market cap that exceeds $100 billion. The other firms are Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services and HDFC Bank. 

Bharti Airtel’s market cap stood at ₹8.48 lakh crore on BSE on June 10 as of 3PM on Monday. According to CLSA, Bharti Airtel’s market cap barely moved for an entire decade but has expanded more than three times (3.3x) in seven years.