Sunil Bharti Mittal, the founder of Bharti Enterprises. Photo: AFP

India’s second-largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel has significantly trimmed its losses and improved its revenue and average revenue per user for the second quarter ended September 30.

The losses were 7.63 billion rupees (US$ 103 million), as against 230 billion rupees ($3.14 billion) in the same period last year due to a one-time provisioning of 284 billion rupees ($3.85 billion) to meet the Supreme Court’s ruling on adjusted gross revenue computation norms. This was the sixth straight quarterly loss and the combined losses from these quarters stands at 474 billion rupees ($6.43 billion).

In the latest quarter, Bharti Airtel reported its highest-ever consolidated revenue of 257 billion rupees ($3.49 billion), driven by higher tariffs and increased data usage due to a rise in remote work and online classes amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This is 22% higher than the year-ago quarter (211 billion rupees or $2.86 billion).

The average revenue per user for this quarter rose to 162 rupees from 128 rupees a year ago, and it has been improving sequentially for the past four quarters. In the quarter ended June 30, it was 157 rupees, while in the quarters ended March and December it was 154 rupees and 135 rupees, respectively.

Bharti Airtel’s mobile data traffic grew 58.8% to 7,949 billion MBs this quarter as against 5,005 billion MBs last year. In this quarter the telecom operator added 14.4 million 4G data customers and it now stands at 152.7 million.

As for adjusted gross revenue dues, Bharti Airtel said it has already paid over 10% of the outstanding amount and will comply with the Supreme Court’s orders. Last month, the top court had ordered telecom operators to clear 10% of their dues ahead of April 1 next year and pay the rest in 10 annual installments.

Bharti Airtel will exit its Ghana business and sell its shares for 1.84 billion rupees ($25 million) to the country’s government. Its Ghana unit, AirtelTigo, is finalizing an agreement with Ghana’s government in this regard. AirtelTigo is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular SA, with the Indian firm holding a non-controlling 49.95% share. Bharti Airtel has a presence in 14 African countries under its holding firm Airtel Africa Plc.

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