Bharti Airtel Income Falls 72% Amid Data Price War

By Newley Purnell Features Dow Jones Newswires

Bharti Airtel Ltd., one of India's largest cellular services companies, said Tuesday that income plunged 72% in the quarter ended March 31 as a data price war pummeled profitability.

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New Delhi-based Airtel said profit stood at 3.73 billion rupees ($58 million) in the quarter, down from INR13.19 billion a year ago. Revenues fell 12% to INR219 billion. Both net profit and revenues fell short of a Thomson Reuters survey of analysts' estimates.

"The sustained predatory pricing by the new operator has led to a decline in revenue growth," Chief Executive Gopal Vittal said in a statement. A "tsunami of incoming voice traffic" required sizable investments to carry the incoming traffic on the company's network, he said.

Late last year Mukesh Ambani, the country's richest man, started offering almost six months of free mobile services to promote his new carrier, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., luring users from other carriers and pushing down rates.

Write to Newley Purnell at Newley.Purnell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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May 09, 2017 13:13 ET (17:13 GMT)