Bharti Q2 net falls 29.8 pct, more than expected

NEW DELHI Tue Nov 6, 2012 10:50pm EST

NEW DELHI Nov 7 (Reuters) - India's top telecommunications carrier, Bharti Airtel Ltd, reported its 11th consecutive quarter of profit decline as costs increased and a slowdown in customer additions limited revenue growth.

Bharti, controlled by billionaire Sunil Mittal, said on Wednesday that consolidated net profit fell 29.8 percent to 7.21 billion rupees ($132.5 million)for its fiscal second quarter ended September from 10.27 billion rupees a year earlier. Analysts had expected net profit of 7.46 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Bharti and its main rival, the local unit of Vodafone , are set to benefit after a court revoked the permits of several smaller rivals, which will cut the competition in a market that once boasted more than a dozen players.

The leading carriers, however, face the risk of paying out billions of dollars in regulatory fees over the next few years with the government planning to impose a surcharge on airwaves held by them and also because of reallocation, or switching, of their superior quality spectrum when their permits are renewed.

Bharti, nearly a third owned by Southeast Asia's top phone carrier, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and is the world's fourth-biggest mobile phone carrier by customers.

($1 = 54.4350 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Matt Driskill)