Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has published its year-end financial results for the period ending 31 March 2020, booking total revenue of INR875.4 billion (USD11.63 billion), up from INR807.8 billion in the 2018/19 financial year. EBITDA grew by 41% year-on-year to INR371.1 billion, but annual net income fell from a profit of INR4.1 billion to a loss of INR321.8 billion over the same period. The operator notes that the loss was due primarily to exceptional items totalling a charge of INR228.1 billion, the majority of which was related to a ruling by the Indian Supreme Court in October 2019 regarding the definition and calculation of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR), the figure upon which telcos’ licence fees are based. As a result of the decision, Airtel submitted a payment of INR127.5 billion to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in February 2020 to cover its dues, plus a further deposit of INR50 billion to cover any potential discrepancies between its self-assessment and the DoT’s calculations. In addition, Airtel’s domestic unit recorded an aggregate charge of INR56.4 billion relating to a dispute with the regulator over one-time spectrum charges. In operational terms, the group counted a consolidated total customer base of 423.287 million at end-March 2020, compared to 403.645 million twelve months earlier.
Its Indian division counted 283.667 million mobile subscribers at that date, a small increase from 282.640 million in March 2019, whilst ARPU grew to INR154 in the period under review from INR123 in the year-ago period. Of that mobile user base, 148.578 million were data customers (115.147 million in March 2019), of which 136.309 million were 4G subscribers (86.808 million).