Bharti Airtel Q2 net profit more than doubles to Rs1,383 cr

Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top telecom service provider, saw its consolidated net profit more than double to Rs1,383 crore for the quarter ended 30 September 2014, helped by higher voice call rates and rapid growth in mobile data usage.

During the quarter, Bharti Airtel's total revenue rose about 7 per cent from a year earlier to Rs22,845 crore.

Mobile data revenue grew 74 per cent in India and 57 per cent in Africa from a year earlier, the company said.

Monthly average revenue per user (ARPU), a key metric for telecoms carriers, fell 2 per cent sequentially to Rs198 for Bharti's Indian business and was 3 per cent down for the African operations.

However, almost all major mobile phone operators in India have been able to increase voice call prices, after the Supreme Court order on the licensing scandal forced several smaller rivals out, boosting pricing power of the incumbents.

Rapid growth in the usage of high-margin mobile data, fuelled by a surge in cheaper smart phones, has also helped carriers.

For the Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Airtel, which is also nearly a third owned by Singapore Telecommunications, it was the fourth straight quarter of profit growth.

Bharti Airtel, which acquired money-losing African telecoms operations in 2010 in a $9 billion debt-funded deal, has yet to turn a profit there, weighing on its consolidated financials.

The July-September period is generally seen as a seasonally weak quarter for the telecoms industry. Mobile voice realisation and minutes of usage per customer in India also fell from the previous quarter.

Shares in Bharti Airtel closed 0.6 per cent higher ahead of the results announcement in a Mumbai market that gained almost 1 per cent.