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India's Bharti Airtel swings to quarterly profit on subscriber additions

India's Bharti Airtel swings to quarterly profit on subscriber additions

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face shield cleans a Bharti Airtel logo inside its store, after authorities eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India, July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

BENGALURU: Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd swung to a quarterly profit on Monday, helped by subscriber additions and increased data usage as remote working trends continue during the pandemic.

Although Indian telecom operators are seeing a drop in recharges and sales of new connections at physical stores due to COVID-19 restrictions, that has been offset by a surge in online transactions and customer additions.

The country's second-largest telecom operator posted a consolidated profit of 7.59 billion rupees (US$103.62 million) for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of 52.37 billion rupees a year earlier.

Airtel added 14.1 million subscribers in India during the first three months of 2021, growing its base to more than 350 million.

Rival firm Reliance Jio, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani added 15.4 million net subscribers in the quarter, expanding its customer base to 426.2 million as of March 31.

Airtel's quarterly average revenue per user at its India mobile services business rose 7.4per cent to 145 rupees from a year earlier.

That came even as the interconnect usage charge, the amount paid by a telco to another when its users make voice calls to subscribers of the other network, went to zero on Jan. 1.

Bharti Airtel's EBITDA margin improved to 48.9per cent in its fourth quarter from 42.4per cent a year earlier.

The New Delhi-based company's revenue from operations for the quarter was 257.47 billion rupees, nearly 12per cent higher from 230.19 billion rupees the previous year.

(US$1 = 73.2500 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

Source: Reuters

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