Two of India’s of India’s top five largest mobile operators by subscribers, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, have released financial results for the three months ended 31 December 2009.
Bharti, the country’s largest cellco with an approximate 23% share of the market, posted a 2.3% year-on-year increase in net profit to INR22.1 billion (USD473 million), up from INR21.6 billion at end-December 2008. Revenue meanwhile increased 1.4% against the same period a year earlier to INR97.72 billion, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) declined 0.9% y-o-y. The results were better than expected, with industry watchers predicting that the operator would report a fall in net profit, with Bharti noting that it was continuing to focus on its market share despite the intense levels of competition in the sector. For the three-month period Bharti added 8.35 million subscribers to bring its total to 118.86 million.
Idea meanwhile also performed better than expected; despite posting a quarterly net profit of INR1.7 billion for its consolidated operations, which includes joint venture Spice Communications, down 22.5% against the same period in 2008, analysts had predicted that this figure could fall to INR1.42 billion on the back of increased competition and network expansion. Consolidated revenues for Idea were INR31.5 billion, up 15.3% against INR27.3 billion for the corresponding three-month period last year, while EBITDA rose 16.7%. The operator reported that as of 31 December 2009 it had 52.3 million subscribers, while Spice, which operates in the Punjab and Karnataka circles, had 5.3 million.