Bharti Airtel eyes mobile data push
New Delhi, November 5, 2011
Bharti Airtel said it was confident of growing its high-speed mobile data business and turning around its struggling African operations after reporting a bigger-than-expected fall in fiscal second-quarter profit, its seventh consecutive quarterly profit drop.
The Indian mobile market leader on Friday said net profit for the three months to September fell 38 per cent, hit by higher interest costs, foreign exchange losses and its money-losing African operations.
Bharti, nearly a third owned by Southeast Asia's biggest phone firm SingTel, said consolidated net profit fell to Rs10.27 billion ($210 million) for the quarter ended September from Rs16.61 billion a year earlier, based on international accounting standards.
The consolidated revenue rose to RS172.76 billion from 152.31 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
The poster boy of India's telecoms sector last year ventured into Africa by acquiring most of the mobile operations of Kuwait's Zain in a $9 billion deal, becoming the world's fifth-biggest mobile carrier by subscribers. But high costs have weighed and Bharti has yet to turn a profit there.
In India, the outlook for Bharti and its rivals have improved after they raised voice call prices by about a fifth, the first such increase in at least two years, after a vicious price war in the 15-player market squeezed profits.