Airtel, Idea to report sharp drop in Q3 operating profit margins, courtesy Jio free services & demonetisation

Free services by the new entrant Reliance Jio and demonetisation is likely to impact the third quarter earnings of India’s leading telcos Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular. These telcos are also expected to report sharp drop in operating profit margins in the December quarter, a telecom report by Kotak Institutional Equities said.

According to analysts at Kotak, the fourth quarter of the ongoing fiscal would be even weaker following the extention of free services by the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator. The brokerage noted that Jio’s free services will impact top telcos’ data volumes, data pricing and voice pricing.

Reliance Jio Infocomm, which launched its free services on September 5, has already acquired over 60 million subscribers in the country.

In order to counter Reliance Jio, incumbent telcos have been responding with various data and unlimited voice offers through various packs.

Kotak said that these telcos have responded to Jio’s free launch offer with selective aggression of their own, in the form of bundled offers with unlimited voice as well as higher discounting on pure voice plans, which has likely helped them protect, or even grow, their outgoing voice traffic at the expense of the ex-Jio challengers.

The brokerage, however, added that the the impact on voice RPM is negative, again for these telcos.

According to analysts, quoted by various media, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Idea Cellular are likely to post a 10-20% drop in the operating profit sequentially, despite the fact that Q3 is a seasonally strong quarter.

They said that a shrinking of operating margins will result in large losses in the bottomline for Idea Cellular. They expect Idea to report a loss of Rs 440 crore, after accounting for its share in the profit of Indus Towers Ltd.

Analysts at ICICI Securities have estimated a loss of Rs 547 crore for Idea Cellular. Kotak estimated flattish year-on-year and 9-12% lower sequential data revenues for Bharti and Idea as customers shift their usage to Jio’s ‘free’ platform.

India’s leading telco however is likely to remain profitable, although net profit is fall between 35-40% sequentially, analysts said.

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27 Comments on "Airtel, Idea to report sharp drop in Q3 operating profit margins, courtesy Jio free services & demonetisation"

 

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Amit
January 6, 2017 2:19 pm 2:19 PM

taking only data case, there was a time when 2g costed 98rs for 28 days. AVoID introduced 3G at less price (around 150) and started increasing 2g charges (in order to encourage people to use 3G). Until jio’s entry 3G/4G rates boomed to freaking Rs 250 !! They have eaten a lot of customers money with huge Margins! Thanks to Jio, prices are down, AVoID is forced to provide offers to retain customers. They have enough money to sustain till march 2017. But if jio continued even after march 31, AVoID will be a cry baby, fir ayega maza!

Khursheed ah sofi
January 6, 2017 1:09 am 1:09 AM

At least jio won the game other telcom out of station

Abhishek
January 5, 2017 5:39 pm 5:39 PM

Airtel covered my small town with 4G. I think within next 6 months airtel will match jio coverage in Karnataka.

Mandar Sherbet
January 6, 2017 8:33 pm 8:33 PM

That is because Karnataka is Airtel’s most important circle in terms of Revenues & Idea expanded it’s 4G network coverage at a ferocious speed. Since Idea lacked 3G spectrum in Karnataka, it tried to gain early mover advantage on the 4G front.

But the story is not the same in other circles. Airtel’s 4G coverage in Maharashtra circle is quite disappointing. Idea launched it’s 4G network in my town in June’16. But Airtel has still not reached even many major towns, including my town.

Abhishek
January 6, 2017 11:12 pm 11:12 PM

Still no idea 4G in my town. From last 4 months idea store is saying 4G coming soon but till now no 4G. My town doesn’t have Vodafone 3G so idea is complete waste where I live.

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