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4G launch is more or less completed now

Bharti Airtel (Airtel), on Wednesday, said its investments towards 4G is almost over as the company is concentrating on 5G now, and added it is also looking at ways to capitalise on artificial intelligence (AI).

“Our 4G launch will be more or less completed. I think we are left with a few more places…very small roll outs in a few circles, but broadly that will be completed. We are not investing anything more in 4G capacities. Transport investment will continue as we rely on towers…we are also investing in some of our other businesses like data centres, homes….will continue to see strong investments and so on,” said Gopal Vittal, Managing Director, Airtel, in an earnings call with analysts.

Wireless capex on 5G will certainly come down relatively because the company will be completing its urban coverage more or less during the course of this year, and will start hitting some of the top villages in 2024-25, he said.

Talking about investments during the current financial year, Vittal said: “The quarter’s capex of ₹9,000 crore was a little elevated, but if you take the full year capex, it is about ₹28,500 crore for the full year. As I mentioned before, if we take a three-year view, we will be broadly in the same ball park figure…and we have a reason to believe that our full-year capex for 2023-24 will be in the same ball park figure,” he added.

On asked about use of artificial intelligence in its businesses, Vittal said told analysts that “there are some experiments that we have begun in small areas…nothing really meaningful to report back. But, we are really looking at it very closely and we have a team who are working on how we can bring in some of these technologies to our core business.”

Airtel, on Tuesday, reported a consolidated net profit of ₹3,006 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, a jump of 50 per cent year-on-year, compared with ₹2,008 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Total revenues were also up 14.3 per cent y-o-y to ₹36,009 crore during the January-March quarter, against ₹31,500 in the same period in FY2021-22. The Hindu BusinessLine

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