Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, clocked a 12.3% year-on-year rise in its net profit at ₹5,208 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2023.

Revenue from operations jumped 10.3% year-on-year to ₹25,368 crore for the third quarter as against ₹22,998 crore in the year-ago quarter. The top line was ₹24,750 crore in the second quarter.

The operating margin in Q3 contracted to 26.3% from 26.6% a year ago, and 26.4% a quarter ago.

Jio's average revenue per user (ARPU) increased 2% year-on-year to ₹181.7, led by a better subscriber mix but partially offset by unlimited data allowance on the 5G network, the telco says.

About 90 million subscribers migrated to Jio's 5G network. Jio says its 5G network now carries almost one-fourth of Jio's mobility data traffic.

Total expenses for the quarter rose to ₹18,518 crore from ₹16,839 crore a year ago, and 18,063 crore a quarter ago. Network operating expenses rose to ₹7,706 crore from ₹7,227 crore a year ago and ₹7,607 crore a quarter ago.

Expenses for licence fees and spectrum charges rose marginally to ₹2,330 crore in the third quarter from ₹2,120 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

For the first nine months of the financial year 2023-24, profit rose 12% year-on-year to ₹15,129 crore compared with ₹13,491 crore in the same period a year ago.

Customer engagement on Jio network remained strong, total data and voice traffic increased 31.5% to 38.1 billion GB, and 7.9% to 1.37 trillion minutes, respectively.

"The strong uptake of the JioBharat phone and JioAirFiber services has resulted in continued expansion of Jio's subscriber base, contributing to the stellar growth numbers of the digital services business," says Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries.

The 5G capital expenditure of telecom operators including Reliance Jio is expected to taper from 2024 and the focus will shift to the new tariff structure that they would be bringing out and their cost recovery plans, Fortune India reported in January.

According to rating agency Fitch, Jio is investing $13-14 billion (₹1.08-1.16 lakh crore) to roll out its 5G standalone network.

Foreign brokerage JP Morgan recently predicted that the 5G monetisation through premium tariffs appears unlikely, while Fitch has forecast that Airtel and Jio would add 10 million and 20 million subscribers, respectively, in 2024.

In 2022, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced that the 5G investment of Jio would be ₹2 lakh crore. According to the 2022 annual report, Jio made a cumulative investment of $60 billion (₹4.99 lakh crore) to build its digital ecosystem.

"JioAirFiber has seen strong initial demand and customer engagement, especially in underserved tier 3/4 towns and rural areas," says Akash M Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.