Reliance Jio Launch May Not Impact Airtel Revenue Share: Report

Reliance Jio Launch May Not Impact Airtel Revenue Share: Report
Drawing parallels between Reliance Jio's current playbook and Reliance Communications' 2003 launch, Deutsche Bank Markets Research has said Bharti Airtel appears to be better prepared with its 4G plans and it does not anticipate any impact on its revenue share or margins from the Jio launch.

"There are parallels between Jio's current playbook and Reliance Communications' launch in 2003; the executive management is the same in both instances. Reliance Communications' pan-India launch was on a scale comparable to that of the incumbents and it surpassed Bharti's voice throughout within three years," the research report said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

"However, Bharti's revenue share and margins were not affected by its entry. Bharti appears better prepared this time and, contrary to investor expectations, we do not anticipate any impact on its rev-share or margins from Jio's launch. We believe Bharti's business performance is poised for multi-year improvement," it added.

Reliance Jio's full commercial launch is expected by December this year.

The continuity in Bharti's management and the lessons learnt post Reliance Communications' launch in 2003 have likely helped it to anticipate Jio's strategy this time around.

"Bharti has been strategic in acquiring the largest amount of incremental spectrum since 2014. This has helped it to pre-empt Jio by launching 4G on a pan-India basis and increase the competitive gap with incumbent peers, which remain spectrum constrained in their key markets," Deutsche Bank Market Research stated.

It said Jio will impact data yields but not the revenue table of the sector.

"We expect data yield to fall 20 percent per annum for next three years to reach Rs. 0.12 per MB compared to the current level of Rs. 0.24 per MB. However, we believe Jio will not affect package pricing - it is likely to offer more data at existing price points."

The report said: "Bharti rev-share and margins are unlikely to be affected by Jio's launch. Weaker players that have a combined 25 percent revenue share are more at risk."

"We forecast three-year revenue growth of 12 percent and an EBIDTA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin of around 38 percent for Bharti's domestic mobile business. Bharti's next phase (revival) should be marked by a better competitive position in India and recalibration of international ops, which should support multi-year stock performance," it added.


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