Bharti Airtel profit plunges 30 percent

Tuesday - 11/6/2012, 11:20pm EST

MUMBAI, India (AP) - Bharti Airtel's quarterly profit fell a worse-than-expected 30 percent on rising costs and slowing growth in new customers.

India's largest mobile phone company said July-September quarter net income was 7.2 billion rupees ($132.8 million). Sales grew 17.4 percent from a year earlier to 202.7 billion rupees ($3.7 billion).

Analysts polled by FactSet forecast net income of 7.9 billion rupees.

Bharti's mobile customers grew just 0.7 percent from the prior quarter, with a 5 percent surge in Africa masking a 0.5 percent decline in its core South Asian market.

Bharti and top competitor Vodafone stand to benefit from consolidation in India's hyper-competitive telecom industry, but they have been hit by changing regulations and a host of unexpected government fees.

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