India's Bharti Airtel profit rises first time in 4 years

NEW DELHI Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:57pm EST

NEW DELHI Jan 29 (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top telecommunications carrier, said its quarterly net profit rose for the first time in four years but was sharply lower than forecast.

Bharti Airtel, nearly a third owned by Southeast Asia's top phone carrier SingTel, said it was helped by lower competition and an increase in voice call prices.

Its consolidated net profit was 6.10 billion rupees ($97.4 million) for the fiscal third quarter ended December from 2.84 billion rupees a year earlier. Net income before exceptional items was 8.32 billion rupees, Bharti said in a statement.

Analysts had expected a net profit of 10.44 billion rupees for the New Delhi-based company that operates mobile phone services in 20 countries across Asia and Africa.

($1 = 62.6550 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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