August 1, 2019 / 11:48 AM / 23 days ago

Bharti Airtel reports first quarterly loss in over a decade

A man leaves a Bharti Airtel store in New Delhi, India April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd reported its first quarterly loss in over a decade on Thursday, taking a one-time hit of 14.69 billion rupees, as it lost customers amid a fierce battle against Reliance Jio for market share.

Airtel’s net loss for the three months ended June 30 was 28.66 billion rupees ($415 million), compared to a profit of 973 million rupees a year ago. Revenue rose 4.7%.

Analysts, on average, were expecting the company to report a loss of 10.17 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.

Like rival Vodafone Idea Ltd, Airtel has been under pressure ever since Jio, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, launched its telecom services and shook up the market.

Government data last month showed Reliance Industries Ltd’s Jio pipped Airtel to become India’s second-largest operator by subscribers as of May.

Airtel said it ended the quarter with 403.7 million customers, down 12 percent over the last year.

The New Delhi-based company said the monthly churn rate for its India mobile services business, a measure of the number of customers it lost, grew to 2.6% for the quarter, against 2% a year ago.

Jio had reported churn of 0.97% for the quarter ended June 30. The company said it made a net addition of 24.5 million subscribers during the quarter.

($1 = 69.0600 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Derek Francis in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and David Evans

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