In its announcement, the company said its 14 African markets performed well as a result of investment in upgrading its network. CEO of Airtel Africa Raghunath Mandava said the company's 3G network has been modernised in 11 markets, while 4G has been launched in eight markets.
Within the period under review, Airtel's subscriber base in Africa grew by 16.3%, increasing from 76.7 million people in 2016 to 89.3 million people by the end of the 2017 financial year, ended 31 March 2018.
The company recorded a significant increase in consumer data consumption with a total volume of 237.6 billion MB consumed in 2017 fiscal year. This is compared with the 125.1 billion MB total data usage in 2016 - an increase of approximately 90%.
"Even the annual consumption volume of MB per user has climbed. This one, which was 657MB, increased to 954MB," said Mandava. Airtel Africa's profit after tax for the quarter ended March almost tripled to US$154.52 million, from US$57.5 million in the last quarter of 2016-17. The company described this as the second positive margin in its eight years of operations in Africa.
Mandava said: "Africa revenues grew by 10.7 percent year-on-year led by strong growth in data and Airtel money transaction value. Mobile data traffic has grown by 88 percent to 70 billion megabytes in the quarter as compared with 37 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter last year. Data customers increased by 48 percent to 24.9 million from 16.9 million in the corresponding quarter last year."
However, Airtel Africa's average revenue per user, a key performance metric, fell by 1.8% to US$3 year-on-year.
Nilanjan Roy, Airtel global CTO said: "We have seen a net revenue growth of 13.4 percent year-on-year, while the operations expenditure has declined 5.4 percent in the past year. The business has entered into a sustainable positive cashflow era, which gives us confidence that the investment rationale seven years ago is still valid today."
Roy added that Airtel's strategy in Africa is centred on strengthening its distribution model and enhancing the consumer experience via network modernisation.