Idea Cellular has posted a net loss of ₹1,176 crore, on a standalone basis, in the second quarter ended September 30, impacted by high competition and regulatory changes. For the Aditya Birla group company, this is the fourth straight quarterly loss.

In comparison, the country’s third-largest mobile operator by subscribers had posted a net profit of ₹43 crore in the same quarter a year ago.

During the quarter, total revenue fell to ₹7,465 crore from ₹9,300 crore in the comparable year-ago period.

“The seasonally slow quarter witnessed high competition, regulatory changes and industry consolidation. The operating environment for Indian mobile operators remained challenging with unrelenting pressure on pricing, introduction of GST at 18 per cent (compared with 15 per cent service tax) and need for large investments to support the exploding data demand,” Idea Cellular said in a statement.

“The impact on Idea’s subscribers and revenue loss was more pronounced (during the quarter) given its higher share of rural subscribers,” the company said in a statement.

Voice minutes grow However, the company’s voice minutes grew by 1.7 per cent to 255 billion minutes from the sequential quarter, compared with a decline of 1.9 per cent in the second quarter of the previous financial year. Idea Cellular’s mobile data volume (2G, 3G and 4G) posted sequential growth of 73.5 per cent, with the operator carrying 438.7 billion MB on its network. In the reporting quarter, Idea Cellular’s broadband data usage (3G+4G) nearly doubled to 413 billion MB from 228.8 billion MB in the sequential quarter.

The company’s broadband subscriber base rose by 3.2 million to 29.6 million, even though its total number of mobile data users remained flat at 38.2 million.

₹54,100-crore debt Idea had a net debt of ₹54,100 crore as of September 30, which includes debt under the deferred payment obligation for spectrum.

The revenue decline also pulled down its EBITDA for the quarter, which fell 19.9 per cent to ₹1,501 crore from ₹1,875 crore in first quarter.

This was largely due to lower revenue and higher operating costs related to roaming and access, and manpower costs due to annual increments.