Bharti Airtel suffered another plunge in net income during the last three months of 2018, as increased 4G usage in India and a strong performance in Africa failed to offset the impact of fierce price competition in its home market.
The operator group’s net income declined by 72 per cent year-on-year in its fiscal Q3 to INR860 million ($12 million) on revenue of INR205 billion. Its profit fall would have been even higher were it not for a one-off gain of INR10 million related to accountancy changes for its Payments Bank.
In a statement, the company said its operation in India had increased revenue from digital TV service and business segments. However, despite a jump in data usage and its number of 4G connections, India mobile revenue was down 4 per cent year-on-year due to “sustained pricing pressure”.
The story is becoming a familiar one with the company also posting large declines in its bottom line in fiscal Q2, as a price war in its home market shows no sign of easing.
Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal added: “Our simplified product portfolio and premium content partnerships have played out well during the quarter,” noting strong trends in data usage.
While home woes continued, Airtel Africa booked an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to INR60.8 billion, driven by higher data usage and continued increases in its Airtel Money operation.
Data traffic across its Africa business increased 61 per cent year-on-year with a 26 per cent boost in the number of data connections.
Airtel Money transaction values increased by 29 per cent year-on-year to $6.9 billion during the quarter. Its active mobile money base on the continent was 13.8 million at the end of December, up 32 per cent year-on-year.Subscribe to our daily newsletter