Reliance Jio continues to increase margins as ARPU slides

Margin on earnings before interest and taxes now sit over 20% as ARPU drops to ₹122.

Indian behemoth Reliance has disclosed its first quarter earnings, with its digital services and telco arm, Reliance Jio, reporting 331 million subscribers as of June 30.

Jio recorded revenue of ₹14,910 crore ($2.17 billion), with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) being ₹3,080 crore and its EBIT margin now sitting just below 21%.

The telco had monthly average revenue per user for Q1 of ₹122 ($1.77).

Compared to the prior two quarters, Jio has been able to raise its margin while its ARPU has sunk. During the third quarter of 2018, the telco reported ARPU of ₹130, and at the start of 2018, it had ARPU of ₹154.

During the quarter, the telco added 24.5 million customers in total from 33.8 million gross new customers, with a churn rate of 0.97%.

Average data consumption as of June 30 was 11.4GB, and overall the telco, customers used 10 exabytes over its network during the quarter.

The company said its JioGigaFiber service is currently being deployed in 1,600 cities and beta trials are in the final stages.

An Opensignal report from April scored Jio as the best carrier for availability in India.

"Jio continues to astound, growing its 4G Availability to 97.5% -- the highest national score we have ever recorded. But Airtel showed the greatest growth in this category, as its average score jumped by over 10 percentage points," OpenSignal said in its report.

"Jio's rivals haven't been complacent; we've seen some impressive growth across all of our metrics, with Airtel's download speed increases worthy of particular mention. And we expect to see this growth continue as the Indian mobile market matures."

OpenSignal also noted that the merger of Vodafone and Idea would additionally bring more competition to Jio.

At the same time, a Tutela report found the best Indian network providers differed across cities, with Airtel best in Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Pune; while Jio was best in Kolkata and Jaipur; Vodafone in Bengaluru; and Idea in Chennai.

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