Bharti Airtel’s India CEO Gopal Vittal urged employees to take efforts to gain revenue market share (RMS) in the next two years, saying factors such as network expansion, content collaborations and a lean organisation are already in place.
In a letter to employees, Vittal said the entire telecom industry has sailed through some difficult times, but acknowledged the opportunity to serve 1.3 billion customers in India, along with competitors including Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm.
He pressed on the importance of privacy and data protection for Airtel’s 345 million customers, according to an Economic Times report.
The newly merged entity Vodafone Idea knocked Bharti Airtel off its no 1 perch with respect to RMS last week, although the latter is only short of 50 basis points from Vodafone Idea’s 32.2 percent.
Jio’s entry in the telecom space in September 2016 triggered a price war leading to the merger of Vodafone and Idea. Joining Idea and Vodafone India, Airtel India reported losses for the last two quarters.
Vittal highlighted that the Rs 50,000 crore of industry revenue and Rs 1 lakh crore of assets had to be written off due to the tariff war that followed, resulting in 'hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and a merger of the number two and three player'. He also cited positives like customers are speaking 1.5 times more and using 9 times more data than earlier.
Despite the disruptive activities in the market, he said Airtel continues to grow and must do the same in the future. “Our annual capex has grown from a high of Rs 16,000 crore to Rs 24,000 crore, largely covered by our operational cash flows. Our balance sheet will remain solid.”
He stated that Airtel will focus on growing its market share in the next two years and the uncertainty and flux in the industry will be of help to the company.