India's largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel has reported a 22.2% slump in net profit for the fourth calendar quarter ending in December, as higher costs negated solid revenue growth.
Net profit declined to 11.17 billion rupees ($164.5 million), unaudited results indicate. Spectrum payments, higher interest costs and competitive pressure all contributed to the profit decline.
Revenue meanwhile grew 5.9% to 240.66 billion rupees. Mobile data revenues contributed strongly to this growth, climbing 44% year-on-year to 41.35 billion rupees.
Revenue from the company's domestic Indian market was up 11.6% year-on-year to 176.94 billion rupees, lead by a 10.1% increase in mobile revenue and 19.1% growth in both the operator's B2B and digital TV segments.
Mobile data revenues from the market climbed 50.6% year-on-year, with the company's data customer base growing 29.9% and data usage per customer up 35.5%.
“Our focus on acquiring quality customers has resulted in healthy net additions of 8.1 million in mobile,” Airtel CEO for India and South Asia Gopal Vittal said.
“We have launched 'Project Leap', a network transformation program, to deliver a truly differentiated customer experience and reinforce our commitment to build a future ready network.”
Africa revenue meanwhile grew 3.1% year-on-year, or 4.6% in constant currency terms and adjusted for the impact of the divestment of Airtel's tower assets.