Bharti Airtel reports Rs1,035-cr Q3 net loss

Bharti Airtel Ltd has posted a loss of Rs1,035 crore, as the effects of the fierce price war unleashed by Reliance Jio Infocomm extended to the fourth year in a row.

Airtel’s loss is significant considering the telecom operator had reported a net profit of Rs86 crore in the corresponding period a year earlier.
New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel said its consolidated revenue from operations grew 8.5 per cent year-on-year to Rs21,947 crore in the October-December 2019-20 quarter, compared to Rs20,231 crore in the similar quarter of the previous year.
“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," Bharti Airtel chief executive officer Gopal Vittal said.
Airtel’s reported losses come two weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to hear Bharti Airtel’s petition to modify its 24 October order that made the company liable to pay Rs35,586 crore of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues by 23 January.
"The net exceptional charge of Rs1,050 crore during the quarter ended December 2019 comprises of a charge on account of interest on the provision of licence fee and spectrum usage charges recorded in the quarter ended September 2019 of Rs1,048.1 crore," company said.
Besides Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices have also filed pleas seeking more time to pay AGR related dues. The telcos have also sought to negotiate a payment schedule with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) besides reductions in the demand for payment of overdue of revenue share, interest, and penalty worth a combined Rs1,00,000 crore.