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Airtel books 76.5% drop in profit amidst ‘financial stress’ from competition

1 Nov 2017

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtrel has reported total revenue of INR217.8 billion (USD3.4 billion) for the three months ended 30 September, representing an 11.7% decrease year-on-year, due largely to increasing competitive pressures in its domestic market, which have led to ‘value erosion and financial stress’. EBITDA for the period was down 15.4% y-o-y to INR80 billion, whilst net income dropped by 76.5% from INR14.6 billion to INR3.4 billion.

Airtel registered a 15.8% y-o-y decrease in mobile service revenue in India, to INR122.1 billion, as pricing pressure following the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) in September last year pushed down monthly ARPUs to INR145 from INR188 in the three months to 30 September 2016. On a more positive note, the price reductions helped Airtel continue to grow its subscriber base, with the operator counting 282.0 million wireless users (including 55.2 million 3G/4G customers) at end-September 2017 compared to 259.9 million (41.3 million 3G/4G) twelve months earlier. Similarly, usage increased across the board but was most noticeable in the data segment, with average monthly data use per subscriber quadrupling from 1,000MB to 4,087MB.

Across its various African markets, meanwhile, Airtel registered a 4.8% increase in its wireless subscriber base, to 81.9 million. ARPU was down to USD3.2 from USD3.3 from a year earlier, but represented a small improvement from USD3.1 in the three months ended 30 June 2017. Mobile data subscribers totalled 21.7 million at end-September, up from 18.1 million a year earlier.

India, Bharti Airtel

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