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Airtel may increase plan prices again as the latest results show loss

Bharti Airtel incurred a massive loss of Rs 1,035 crore in the third quarter

twitter-logo India Today Tech   New Delhi     Last Updated: February 5, 2020  | 13:56 IST

Highlights

  • Airtel incurred a massive loss of Rs 1,035 crore in the third quarter
  • The company hinted at tariff hikes
  • Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, said in a statement that the tariff revision in December

Bharti Airtel incurred a massive loss of Rs 1,035 crore in the third quarter but the company witnessed a highest-ever quarterly rise in 4G users and a surge in data traffic. The company hinted at a tariff hike due to the losses. Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, said in a statement that the tariff revision in December was beneficial for the financial health of the company and the prices must go up further.

"While tariff revision undertaken in December 2019 is a welcome step towards repairing the financial health of the industry, we believe tariffs must go up further for enabling the industry to invest in emerging technologies, Vittal said.

In December 2019, the telecom giants including Vodafone, Jio and Airtel increased the prices of their prepaid and postpaid plans after they were asked to pay fines to the Indian government over AGR dues. As a result, many existing Airtel users had ported their number to Reliance Jio.

Airtel Digital TV revenue witnessed a growth of 15.6 percent Y-o-Y on an underlying basis (decline of 23.3 percent on a reported basis due to reporting changes in DTH pursuant to the new tariff order). Airtel Business revenue witnessed a growth of 6.6 percent on Y-o-Y basis.

Consolidated EBITDA at Rs. 9,350 crores increased 48.3 percent Y-o-Y. Consolidated EBITDA margin increased by 11.4 percent to 42.6 percent in the quarter as compared to 31.2 percent in the corresponding quarter last year. Consolidated EBIT increased by 195.2 percent Y-o-Y to Rs. 2,401 crores.

The Consolidated Net Loss before exceptional items for the quarter stands at Rs. 1,080 crores. The Consolidated Net Loss after exceptional items for the quarter stands at Rs. 1,035 crores.

Airtel's results come as the apex court is slated to hear Bharti Airtel's petition to modify its October 24 order that made the company liable to pay Rs. 35,586 crores of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues by January 23. Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices have also filed pleas to seek more time to pay AGR related dues though the telcos want to negotiate a staggered payment schedule with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which has issued demand notices worth over Rs 1 trillion for revenue share, interest, and penalty.

Ending a 14-year court battle, the Supreme Court on October 24 upheld the government's definition of revenue, on which it calculates levies on telecom operators, dealing a body blow to the telecom industry, which is already burdened with falling tariffs and mounting debt.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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