Despite avoiding what would have been its first quarterly consolidated net loss in over a decade, Bharti Airtel remains optimistic about the future. It expects that its strong network coupled with a massively underserved market in India would work in its favour in the long run. During itsQ1FY19 earnings call, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal said that in a market with a population of 1.3 billion people and substantially low penetration, the consolidation of three equal sized players (plus BSNL), will provide enough opportunities to generate growth. He claimed that with three large operators at play, it is the most efficient and viable structure the industry could have hoped for. With this structure, Vittal said that he expects mobile tariffs to increase in the next six months or so to a more sustainable level. Beat expectations, yet so poor In Q1FY19 Bharti Airtel reported a net profit of Rs 97.3 crore, down 74% YoY, and a consolidated revenue of Rs 20,080 crore, also down 9% YoY. While the performance looks abysmal without context, Airtel actually beat market expectations of a net loss which can largely be attributed to a Rs 515.6 crore exceptional gain it made from the creation of a deferred tax asset in Nigeria. Minus the Nigerian gain, India’s largest telecom operator’s books would have shown a consolidated loss of Rs 300.4 crore, compared with a Rs 406 crore net profit last year. You can read more about the results here. Airtel said it faced “sustained pricing pressure” in its Indian mobile…
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