NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel on Monday reported a net loss of Rs 5,237 crore in the quarter ended March 31, 2020, as stiff competition from Reliance Jio and inclusion of certain ‘exceptional items’ kept the company deep in the red.
The Sunil Mittal-run company, however, said that revenues in the period were up 15% at Rs 23,723 crore against Rs 20,602 crore in the same period in fiscal 2018-19.
As per details given by the company, the exceptional items included a charge of Rs 7,004 crore on account of reassessment of regulatory cost based on a recent judgment on one-time spectrum charge (OTSC) related matter of Rs 5,642 crore; interest on the provision of license fee and spectrum usage charges of Rs 871 crore; charge on account of regulatory fees based on a recent judgment on a related matter of Rs 168 crore; and charge on account of rates and taxes in one of the subsidiaries Rs 166 crore.
Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Airtel India and South Asia, said, “These are unprecedented times for every one across the world as we battle the impact of Covid-19 and its consequent impact on livelihoods. Even in this difficult time, it is our investments in network technologies that has allowed us to keep the nation connected and serve our customers. We are therefore hopeful that the government will implement the recommendations of (regulator) TRAI and the intent of the new telecom policy and bring down the high levels of regulatory levies and taxes that the sector is subjected to.”
The company said that addition of 4G subscribers in its kitty and the tariff hikes in December last year – ranging up to 50% in certain cases – helped it increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) in the period. “Overall ARPU for the quarter was Rs 154 as compared to Rs 123 in the corresponding quarter last year.”
Airtel said that the company had undertaken a capex investment of Rs 25,359 crore on a consolidated basis during the year (2019-20) to increase the quality of its telecom services.
Consolidated net debt, excluding lease obligations, stands at Rs 88,251 crore as on March 31, 2020 compared to Rs 108,235 crore as on March 31, 2019.