As it stated earlier, Bharti Airtel, the country’s leading telecom operator today released its earnings call for the quarter that ended on March 31, 2018. In India, Airtel reported a 13.1% Year-on-Year drop in revenue when compared to last year’s revenue for the same period. Airtel reported a revenue of Rs 14,796 crore. During the earnings call, Airtel also confirmed that its subscriber base in India crossed 300 million, while the total subscriber base of the telco reached 413.8 million across 16 countries. Airtel also confirmed that it rolled out over 107,000 mobile broadband base stations in India during the last financial year. The telco made over Rs 24,000 crore investment in India last fiscal, the highest in a single year by the company.
“In line with our goal of building market-leading 4G networks, with best in class speeds and capacity; while supporting the Digital India initiative, we have ended the financial year with our highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 240 Bn. We intend to continue the rollout momentum next year as well,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia said in a statement.
Airtel, in the earnings, call also revealed that the Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) has fallen by 22% to Rs 5,237.2 crore. The Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) also saw a downfall of 61% to Rs 1,013 crore, and lastly, the operating free cash flow showed a massive decline of 84% to Rs 615 crore for the quarter that ended on March 31, 2018. On the whole, Airtel reported a loss of Rs 652.3 crore in its operations in India and South Asia, a first loss in the last 15 years. Even Airtel’s Africa business registered a profit of 698.7 crore.
Trai’s decision to reduce the international roaming charges hurt Airtel very badly. Overall, Airtel’s profit declined to Rs 83 crore in the last quarter of FY18, which is drastically down from the Rs 373.4 crore profit the carrier reported a year earlier. In the quarter that ended on December 31, 2018, Airtel reported a profit of Rs 306 crore.
The data and voice calling rates have fallen drastically during the quarter as a result, Airtel reported a Consolidated revenue of Rs 19,634 crore, down from the Rs 21,935 crore it reported at the end of March 2017.
In India, other businesses have witnessed healthy Y-o-Y growth e.g. 10.7% in Digital TV and 11.2% in Airtel Business on an underlying basis. In terms of mobile data traffic, Airtel customers used six times more data compared to last year. Airtel’s data traffic stood at 1540 billion MBs in the quarter that ended on March 31, up from the 225 billion MBs it reported last year. Airtel also revealed that the mobile broadband subscribers during the period increased to 76.6 million from the earlier 42.7 million a year ago.
Gopal Vittal stated that Airtel continued to consolidate its position as the Number One operator in the Indian market. The telco is planning for a massive FY 2018-19 with network infrastructure upgrade across India and several new schemes are also said to be on the way.