India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel today reported a decline in consolidated net profit for the seventh straight quarter to Rs 305.8 crore for the three month period ended December 31, 2017 on account of tariff war in the industry.
The cut in mobile call connection charges from 14 paise to six paise during the quarter added to the financial woes of the telecom giant.
Sunil Bharti Mittal led telecom firm had registered a net profit of Rs 503.6 crore in the same period a year ago.
“Regulatory fiat in the form of a cut in domestic IUC (Interconnection Usage Charges) rates has exacerbated the industry ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) decline in Q3’18,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
The company – which competes with the operators like Vodafone, Idea Cellular and newcomer Reliance Jio in the highly-competitive telecom market in India – saw its overall revenue declining by 13 per cent to Rs 20,319 crore in the third quarter as compared to Rs 23,336 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.
Established operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are in the midst of a bruising tariff war after the entry of Reliance Jio backed by India’s richest business Mukesh Ambani.
Reliance Jio’s free voice and dirt cheap data offerings have dented the financial metrics of incumbent operators.
The company registered six times growth in data usage at 1.1 lakh crore megabyte (MB) in the third quarter of the current fiscal from 17,200 crore MB in the same period previous year, and witnessed a record growth of 49.8 per cent in network minutes at 49,450 crore on year-on-year basis.
Still, Bharti Airtel’s India revenue, which accounts for over 75 per cent of the total business, declined by 15 per cent to Rs 15,294 crore in the the period under review from Rs 18,012.6 crore.
The average revenue per user (ARPU) of Bharti Airtel in India declined by 28.6 per cent to Rs 123 in the quarter from Rs 172 in the year-ago period.
On the other hand, the Africa revenues were up 5.3 per cent in over the same quarter previous fiscal in constant currency terms.
However, in terms of Indian rupees, the Africa revenue declined by around 4 per cent to Rs 5,129.3 crore from 5,355.9 crore on year-on-year basis.
The company s consolidated net debt rose to Rs 91,714 crore as against Rs 91,480 crore in the previous quarter.
Bharti Airtel invested Rs 6,465.7 crore in October- December 2017 period and installed around 32,000 mobile broadband sites in India.
“The company’s Board has declared an interim dividend of Rs 2.84 per share, which is a complete pass through of dividend received from subsidiaries,” the statement added.
Bharti scrip closed 1.17 per cent lower at Rs 494.50 apiece on the BSE today.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.