Bharti Airtel shares surge 5%, near record high of Rs 569

According to analysts, Covid-19 outbreak has shown limited impact on the telecom sector
Shares of Bharti Airtel continued their northward journey for the third straight day, up 5 per cent at Rs 563, on the BSE on Tuesday. The stock was trading close to its record high level of Rs 569 touched on February 17, 2020.

The stock of the telecom services provider has rallied 16 per cent in the two weeks, as compared to a 2.2 per cent decline in the S&P BSE Sensex. On April 28, Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia announced signing a deal worth Rs 7,500 crore with Bharti Airtel to enhance the mobile operator’s network capacity in nine circles across the country. The agreement is expected to give a fillip to customer experience, particularly in 4G.

Meanwhile, according to analysts, Covid-19 outbreak has shown limited impact on the telecom sector as a whole due to the services being considered as essential during the lockdown. Besides, they expect telecom companies to have benefited from the surge in demand for voice and data services due to work-from-home scenario as a viable alternative for many companies. However, on the downside, such companies may see lower net subscriber additions in the next 2-3 months.

After the decline seen subscriber base across the industry in December 2019, subscriber adds turned positive once again in January 2020, as per the latest data collated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and issued Friday.

While the Telecom industry added 3.8 million active subscribers, Bharti Airtel surprisingly lost 1.7m subscribers, which may be attributed to SIM consolidation post the price hike taken in December’19.

“Despite the loss in its active subscriber base, Bharti has been able to maintain its top position in the active subscriber base market with 31.7 per cent share (-30bp MoM), followed by RJio with 31.4 per cent share, and Vodafone Idea with 30.1 per cent share,” Motilal Oswal Securities said in a telecom sector update.

With 0.9m gross subscriber additions witnessed in January’20, Bharti’s gross subscriber base has reached 328m, with the company maintaining its market share of 28.4 per cent. Furthermore, Bharti remained in the third spot (slightly behind VIL) in terms of gross subscriber market share, it added.

At 02:46 pm, Bharti Airtel was up 4.4 per cent at Rs 560 on the BSE. The stock was the top gainer among S&P BSE Sensex, which was down 0.54 per cent at 31,373 points. A combined around 19 million equity shares changed hands on the counter on the NSE and BSE till the time of writing of this report.


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