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Airtel swings into profit after losses in 6 consecutive quarters

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel bounced back into profit in the October-December quarter on the back of growing subscribers and higher data usage as more people were forced to work-from-home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The second-largest telco has turned profitable after six consecutive loss-making quarters due to a tariff war unleashed by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio and the requirement to pay huge government dues. 

Airtel’s consolidated profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 worked out to Rs 854 crore compared to a loss of Rs 1,035 crore in the same quarter last year.

The company’s average revenue per user for the quarter rose 23% to Rs 166. Its consolidated revenue from operations surged 24.2% to Rs 26,518 crore on gains in subscriber base and higher tariffs.

Airtel’s subscriber base in India grew to 336.2 million, with the company adding 12.9 million 4G subscribers during the last three months of 2020 to reach 165.6 million.

The telco has been gaining subscribers over the past few months, with analysts pointing out that the firm has also seen gains in some of the key markets of loss-making rival Vodafone Idea.