Sunil Mittal, the founder of Bharti Airtel, said Monday that the wireless provider wanted to improve its access to growth capital and reduce its debt burden, a day after it announced its plans to raise Rs 21,000 crore ($2.87 billion) through a share sale. ) pick up. to existing shareholders.
Mr Mittal said the company was saddled with extraordinary debt and that he was confident now was the time to invest and grow.
The telecom operator is raising funds as it prepares to launch 5G services, which it hopes will become a reality in the second half of next year.
With more than 352 million subscribers, Airtel, India’s second largest airline, said it will not raise prices further, but will gradually move towards it.
In recent years, the Indian telecom market has faced an intense price war after Mukesh Ambani-controlled Jio Infocomm entered the market in late 2016 and launched free voice calls and slashed data prices.
Mr Mittal also expects average mobile revenue per user (ARPU), a key metric for telecom companies, to reach Rs 200 by the end of this fiscal year.
Airtel’s quarterly ARPU was Rs 146 for the quarter ended June.
Buoyed by Mr Mittal’s speech, Bharti’s shares ended 4.3 percent higher after the investor’s call, with the shares posting their biggest daily gain in more than a month.
Mr Mittal also urged the government to ramp up investment in digital infrastructure as he expected fees and charges on telecom companies to drop.
“We have also urged the government to address some pressing issues hampering further investment in the sector given the negative to low returns,” he added.