India's second largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel on Tuesday reported a 3% year-on-year drop in net profit to ₹830 crore in the third quarter. Its profit in the year-ago period stood at ₹854 crore.
The company clocked a 12.6% jump in revenue to ₹29,867 crore in the quarter ended December compared with ₹ 26,518 crore in the same period a year ago, according to its exchange filing.
The jump in revenue was aided by the recent hike in tariffs. "Overall sequential revenue growth was at 5.4% and EBITDA margins came in at 49.9%. The recent tariff revision for mobile services has gone down well," says Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO for India & South Asia at Bharti Airtel. "The full impact of the revised mobile tariffs, however, will be visible in the fourth quarter."
The mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) per month rose to ₹163 in during the third quarter as against ₹146 in same quarter last year. The company had raised tariffs on prepaid plans in November last year.
The carrier's operating profit rose 22.4% on a yearly basis to ₹29,867 crore while EBITDA margin expanded by 398 basis points to 49.9%.
Its overall customer base stood at around 485 million across 16 countries. Of this, about 129 million subscribers are from Africa.
The telecom firm's 4G subscriber base rose 1.6% quarter-on-quarter to 19.55 crore.
In January, Alphabet-owned Google said it will invest up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel as it looks to scale offerings of India's second largest telecom operator and build a strong digital ecosystem for consumers.
The deal, part of Google for India Digitization Fund, includes an equity investment of $700 million to acquire 1.28% stake in Airtel at ₹734 apiece and up to $300 million toward potential commercial agreements over the course of the next five years, the telecom operator had said.
The deal will focus on enabling affordable access to smartphones across price ranges, and explore building on their existing partnerships to potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, the companies had said.
The partnership comes over a year after the tech giant paid ₹33,737 crore to acquire a 7.73% stake in Reliance Industries-owned Jio Platforms, India's biggest telecom operator and a rival of Airtel.
In December 2021, the Sunil Mittal-led telecom major had paid ₹15,519 crore to the department of telecommunications as pre-payment for the entire deferred spectrum, saving at least ₹3,400 crore in interest cost.
Airtel had bought 128.4 MHz spectrum for a consideration of ₹19,051 crore during the 2014 auction. This also included spectrum earlier held by Telenor. The telecom major was supposed to pay back the liabilities arising from this spectrum acquisition in annual instalments between financial years 2026-2027 and 2031-2032, along with interest accrued at a rate of 10%. This was the highest rate amongst the deferred liabilities and borrowings, Airtel had said.