May 18, 2020 / 5:29 PM / 7 days ago

India's Bharti Airtel reports fourth-quarter loss of 52.37 billion rupees

A Bharti Airtel office building is pictured in Gurugram, previously known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

(Reuters) - Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS) reported a loss for the fourth quarter on Monday, as it set aside 56.42 billion Indian rupees ($744.90 million) for one-time spectrum charges.

The company, India’s third-largest telecom operator by subscribers, posted a loss of 52.37 billion rupees for the three months ended March 31, compared with a profit of 1.07 billion rupees a year earlier.

However, the telco’s quarterly average revenue per user at its India mobile services business rose 25% from a year earlier to 154 rupees.

Indian telecom firms raised tariffs late last year after the Supreme Court upheld a demand by India’s telecoms department that wireless carriers pay 920 billion Indian rupees ($12.11 billion) in overdue levies and interest.

The company said total revenue rose 15% to 237.23 billion rupees for the quarter ended March 31.

Bharti Airtel added it had seen an increase in data traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted India’s government to impose a strict lockdown since late March.

Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown

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