Airtel Q3 net sinks 39% to ₹306 crore

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

Regulatory changes like cut in IUC rates impacted ARPU, says CEO

Still hit by the services of Reliance Jio and changes in the regulations, country’s largest telecom services provider Bharti Airtel has reported a consolidated net profit of ₹306 crore for the third quarter ended December 31. This is a year-on-year (YoY) decline of 39 per cent as compared with ₹504 crore in the corresponding quarter previous year.

Total revenue also declined to ₹20,319 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, from ₹23,336 crore in October-December 2016. India’s revenue for the quarter was recorded at ₹15,294 crore down by 11 per cent YoY (15 per cent on reported) on an underlying basis, adjusted for the impact in reduction of domestic termination rates, the company said.

On the other hand, its Africa revenue was up 5.3 per cent over the same quarter previous fiscal (in constant currency terms). Its consolidated net debt rose to ₹91,714 crore from ₹91,480 crore in the previous quarter.

“Regulatory fiat in the form of a rate cut in domestic interconnect usage charges (IUC) has exacerbated the industry average revenue per user (ARPU) decline in third quarter. The recent announcement of reduction in international termination rates will further accentuate this decline and benefit foreign operators with no commensurate benefit to customers,” Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, India & South Asia, said.

However, he also said the continued investments in data capacities, strategic partnerships with content and handset providers and focus on customer-friendly innovations like data rollover has led to healthy customer additions of 8.1 million during the quarter.

“The third quarter has also seen the highest ever broadband site deployment of 32,000 in any quarter, complementing the robust data and voice traffic growth of 544 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, on a Y-o-Y basis. We are committed to remaining the operator of choice for all customers in this rapidly consolidating industry,” Vittal added.

As on December 31, 2017, the company had 394.2 million customers, an increase of 8 per cent (9 per cent underlying) as compared to 364.6 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

Total minutes of usage on the network during the quarter were 553.2 billion, a growth of 45 per cent (47 per cent underlying) as compared to 381 billion in the corresponding quarter last year. Mobile data traffic grew at 446 per cent (460 per cent underlying) to 1,178.1 billion MBs during the quarter from 215.8 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter in 2016, the company said.

Interim dividend

Meanwhile, the company’s board has declared an interim dividend of ₹2.84 per share, which is a complete pass through of dividend received from subsidiaries, it added.

Airtel’s shares closed at ₹494.50 on the BSE on Thursday, down 1.17 per cent from the previous close.

Published on January 18, 2018

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