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Bharti Infratel ltd, the mobile tower unit of Bharti Airtel, on Thursday reported a 64% increase in net profit to R472 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 on the back of a higher number of tower tenants and other income.
The company, in which Bharti Airtel has around 80% stake, had reported a net profit of R287 crore in the corresponding period last year.
Consolidated income from operations for January-March 2014 rose to R2,790 crore from R2,674 crore in the corresponding period of 2013, an increase of 4%.
The company also crossed the sharing factor of 2 at the end of the quarter. Sharing factor refers to the number of tenants (operators) who have put up their antennae and other active infrastructure on the towers. At the end of the March quarter, total tower base stood at 83,368 with a sharing revenue of R67,942 per tower per month.
Operators have made large investments, primarily for data networks. We believe that a faster roll-out of networks will happen over the coming years to monetise these investments, said Akhil Gupta, chairman, Bharti Infratel.
He added the telecom industry was entering a new phase and data proliferation will be the key driver for tower and co-location demand in future. "Infratel is well positioned to cater to this demand and garner a major share thereof," said Gupta.
The company, which had signed an agreement with Reliance Jio for infrastructure, has started receiving the first few orders. During the fiscal, Bharti Infratels capital expenditure stood at R1,526.8 crore, and Gupta said for 2014-15 it can go up to R2,000 crore depending on orders.
The company is also evaluating providing a fibre optic backhaul network to operators. Trials are also going on to provide wifi and in-building solutions.
For fiscal 2013-14, the company reported a net profit of R1,518 crore compared to R1,003 crore in the earlier fiscal. Revenues were up 5% at R10,827 crore compared to R10,272 crore in the earlier period.