Bharti Airtel's net takes a hit on 'competitive pressures'

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The net profit stood at about Rs774 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

The telecom operator's consolidated revenues for the reporting quarter, at Rs 21,777 crore, represented a year-on-year drop of 10.4 per cent on an underlying basis when adjusted for Africa and Bangladesh divested operating units and tower asset sale.

In terms of revenue, country's largest telco made a sales of Rs 21,777 crore in Q2, 2017 as against Rs 24,652 crore in the same period a year ago - a decrease of 11.7%. The company said the decline was 'primarily led by mobile drop of 16.8% Y-o-Y.

Raghunath Mandava, MD, and CEO, Africa, said: "Airtel Africa underlying revenues grew by 2.8 percent Y-o-Y with net revenues growing 6.3 percent on the back of the increase in data penetration".

India revenues for the September quarter at Rs 16,728 crore have declined by 13 per cent over the year-ago period, led by mobile drop of 16.8 per cent. These factors will eventually force consolidation among operators and exits as the industry has witnessed in the recent past, he added.

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Bharti Airtel, along with other incumbent telecommunication service providers, has been engaged in a fierce tariff war with Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio. "Airtel remains committed to its goal of increasing revenue market share in this competitive environment". Jio's rivals - forced to slash effective data rates and offer free voice calling on some plans across price segments - have seen a key operational indicator - average revenue per user (ARPU) - crash over the previous year or so.

Airtel's profit for the quarter stood at Rs 586.1 crore which was lower by 63%.

India ARPU for voice and data combined fell 6.3% on quarter to its Rs 145, its lowest ever. Net debt excluding the deferred payment liabilities to the Telecom Department and finance lease obligations increased by Rs 2,554 crore sequentially in the quarter, the company added. Mobile data traffic for Airtel has grown four-fold to 784 billion MBs in the quarter compared to 178 billion MBs in the same quarter past year, the company said.

"Mobile data traffic has grown fourfold to 784 billion MBs in the quarter as compared to 178 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter past year". The merger will potentially create the biggest Indian telecoms company, surpassing Airtel, which recently increased its customer base with its acquisition of the Tata conglomerate's consumer mobile business.

Consolidated Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) at Rs 8,004 crore declined 15.4 per cent year-over-year and Ebitda margin dropped 1.6 per cent to 36.8 per cent over the same period.

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