Bharti Airtel drops digital-focused restructure

Bharti Airtel drops digital-focused restructure

Bharti Airtel has decided not to restructure its business after determining that its current structure is “optimal for leveraging” reforms announced by India’s government in September 2021.

In April 2021, Bharti Airtel revealed plans to revise its corporate structure to strengthen its focus on its digital operations. This included listing Airtel Digital and bringing other assets – including Airtel Cloud, Airtel X Stream, Airtel Secure, and the Mitra Payments platform – under the unit’s aegis.

These proposals would have elevated ‘digital’ to one of Bharti Airtel’s four core business units, along with India, infrastructure, and international. The change was aimed at streamlining liabilities and regulatory compliance around Airtel’s digital operations to improve its bottom line.

However, in September 2021 India’s government announced telecom reforms aimed at restoring the sector to profitability. Perhaps the most significant of these was confirmation that adjusted gross revenue would not apply to sales made through non-telecom channels. The government has continually broadened the scope of AGR dues, causing financial distress for Indian operators.

Airtel stated that this change to the definition of AGR would have a significant impact on the industry, improving future prospects and encouraging investment. In its statement, the company said: “Bharti Airtel is well positioned to invest aggressively in the emerging growth opportunities offered by India’s digital economy.”

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