Indian telco Reliance Jio’s profit growth picks up in Q3 on subscriber additions

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Reliance Jio Infocomm, India’s biggest telecom operator by subscriber count, broke a four-quarter streak of slowing profit growth on Friday, helped by subscriber additions, partly after the recent launch of a 4G budget-friendly phone.

Jio, a unit of conglomerate Reliance Industries, said its net profit rose 12.3% year-over-year to 52.08 billion rupees (about $627 million) in the third quarter ended Dec. 31.

Its profit growth had slowed from 28.3% to 11.95% in the past four quarters.

Jio, the first telecom operator to report results for the quarter, said revenue from operations climbed 10.3% in the latest quarter, snapping five straight quarters of slowing growth.

Its total expenses rose a shade under 10%, nearly in line with its revenue growth.

Analysts had estimated revenue growth of 10.3%-12% and a 17% rise in profit for the period.

Jio has been aiming to boost user growth with the recent launch of a 4G budget-friendly phone and wireless broadband Jio AirFiber.

Jio’s subscriber additions and average revenue per user (ARPU), a key performance metric for telecom firms, will be released along with parent Reliance’s results later in the day.

The company’s ARPU is estimated to have risen about 2% sequentially to 185 rupees in the quarter, according to brokerage Ambit Capital.

Jio, like its rivals, did not hike tariffs in the quarter. They last raised prices in 2021 and the next round of increases is expected in mid-2024, after India’s general elections, according to analysts. ($1 = 83.0341 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)