India's Largest Mobile Telco Posts Strong Revenue, Profit

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India's largest mobile services provider, Bharti Airtel, on Thursday reported strong growth in revenue and profits, as the country's mobile market remains unaffected by the economic downturn.

For the quarter ended December 31, the company posted revenue of Indian Rupees 96.3 billion (US$2 billion at the exchange rate on the last day of the quarter), up 38 percent from the same quarter last year. Profits were Rupees 21.6 billion, up by 25 percent over the same time last year.

Even as PC and other technology sales have slowed down in India, the country is adding about 10 million new mobile connections a month. Consumers see communications as a necessity, according to research firm IDC India. While PC sales are largely driven by enterprise buying which has slowed down, mobile subscriptions are largely driven by consumers, it added.

India added 10.81 million mobile subscribers in December, taking the total number of mobile subscribers to 347 million, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on Wednesday. The country added 10.35 million new subscribers in November.

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said on Monday in Delhi that the company would continue to invest in India because of the large opportunity in the country. The British telecommunications service provider has a joint venture in India in which it owns a majority equity.

Bharti Airtel said it had 85.7 million mobile services subscribers as on December 31, up by 55 percent over the corresponding period last year. It added 8.2 million subscribers in the quarter.

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