Bharti Airtel announced a sharp drop in profit for its fiscal Q1, as it faced “sustained pricing pressure” in its Indian mobile business.
The company said in top-line terms it saw “de-growth” of 11 per cent in the mobile business in its home market during the quarter (calendar Q2), although it has seen a more positive performance for its Digital TV and Business units. Total India and South Asia (including Sri Lanka) revenue decreased 13.3 per cent to INR150.3 billion ($2.2 billion).
During the quarter, it acquired Telenor’s operations in India, with the company stating that it has integrated the acquired business across its circles, as well as boosting its spectrum portfolio.
Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Airtel India and South Asia, said: “Industry pricing continues to remain untenable. However, led by our successful bundles, content partnerships and handset upgrade programmes, our mobile data traffic surged 355 per cent on a year-on-year basis.”
“With consolidation largely done, the secular opportunity of the Indian telecom market continues to excite us and we remain committed to offer best-in-class services to all consumers,” he continued.
The company said that in constant currency terms, Africa revenue grew by 13.9 per cent, led by strong growth in data and Airtel money transaction value. As reported, the Africa unit showed an 8.9 per cent increase to INR52.8 billion.
Raghunath Madava, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa, said: “With 4G services live across nine countries and continuing up-gradation of capacities across the operating companies, we remain best placed to capture the ever growing data market.”
On a group level, the company reported a net profit of INR973 million, down from INR3.7 billion, although it benefited from tax and exceptional item gains in the current period – on a pretax level the loss was INR2.85 billion. Group revenue of INR200.8 billion was down 9 per cent from INR219.58 billion.
It ended the period with 438 million mobile subscribers, up 20.8 per cent, of which the lion’s share (344.6 million) were in its home market of India. It gained 28 million subscribers through the Telenor deal.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back