Airtel’s Resilient Quarter: Navigating 5G, Sustainability, and Digital Transformation

In a recent quarter, Airtel showcased a commendable performance, marked by significant achievements and strategic moves.

The telecom giant not only bagged the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for sustainability in 2023 but also outlined its initiatives in the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) space.

Sustainability Initiatives

Diversity took center stage, with Airtel aiming to achieve 20% women participation in its workforce by 2025, a considerable leap from the 11% recorded in FY2023. Structural changes, differentiated employment models, and targeted programs underline the commitment to this diversity goal.

On the environmental front, Airtel has taken substantial steps towards eco-friendly procurement. Initiatives include sourcing SIM cards from recycled plastic materials and introducing compostable packaging for DTH boxes, reflecting a proactive approach toward sustainability.

5G Leadership and Strategy

Airtel’s bold decision to adopt Non-Standalone Architecture (NSA) for 5G has proven successful. The strategy, emphasizing better coverage, improved experience, lower power consumption, and reduced capital expenditure, has resulted in Airtel’s 5G network covering over 5000 cities and approximately 20000 villages. Open Signal results speak volumes, with Airtel securing top positions in various 5G experience categories.

Addressing concerns about the industry’s smartphone trends, Airtel clarified that the rise in the share of smartphones exceeding Rs. 20000 is an industry-wide phenomenon due to a reset in entry-level smartphone prices. Airtel’s focus remains on delivering the best customer experience rather than participating in a capex race.

Tariff Strategy and Financial Snapshot

Airtel remains firm in its stance against higher 5G tariffs, aiming for an overall tariff hike while ensuring affordability and high-quality service. The telecom giant generated consolidated revenues of over 37000 crores, impacted by currency devaluation in Africa. In India, the business grew steadily by 2.3% sequentially, with EBITDA margins expanding to 53.7%.

Despite front-loaded capex, Airtel’s operating free cash flows exceeded 6700 crores for India. The company’s smart investments focused on 5G rollout, rural expansion, fiberization, and data centers. Airtel’s net debt to EBITDA for India continues to trend low, standing at 3.08 versus 3.19 in quarter one.

Segment-wise Performance

  • Mobility: Strong 4G net additions, robust postpaid momentum, and an ARPU of Rs.203 showcase the success of Airtel’s clear strategy of premiumization and execution excellence.
  • Broadband: Airtel achieved the highest-ever quarterly net adds of 4.7 lakhs, expanding its presence to 1239 cities. The focus on quality acquisitions and simplified pricing is driving market share gains.
  • DTH: While losing some customers, Airtel gained momentum through revenue growth, driven by price increases. Market-specific strategies are showing promising results in states like Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • Airtel Business: Sequential revenue growth moderated to 1%, with the domestic business outpacing the global segment. Airtel is doubling down on domestic business, investing in digital adjacencies and improving go-to-market efficiency.
  • Payments Bank and Digital Business: Monthly transacting users for the payments bank grew 7%, while the digital business tracked well with an annualized run rate of just under 1500 crores.


Airtel’s quarter reflects a balanced approach, combining sustainability, 5G leadership, financial prudence, and digital transformation. With a commitment to quality customers, superior experiences, and waste elimination, Airtel positions itself as a key player in India’s dynamic telecom landscape.


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