February 4, 2020 / 12:49 PM / 21 days ago

UPDATE 1-India's Bharti Airtel posts another loss as it faces massive government dues

(Adds details on government dues)

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd reported its third straight quarterly loss on Tuesday, as India’s third-largest telecom firm booked 10.50 billion rupees ($147 million) in charges related to spectrum fee payments and write-downs of network equipment.

The company reported a loss of 10.35 billion rupees ($145 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 862 million rupees a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected the company to report a net loss of 5.52 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.

The results come as Airtel and other telecom firms face demands from India’s government to pay a combined $13 billion in overdue levies. That had prompted the company to warn in November about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Airtel confirmed on Tuesday that those concerns no longer existed.

Airtel, Vodafone Idea Ltd and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio raised tariffs in December to counter the burden from the government’s demands. As a new entrant, Jio is the least exposed to the dues.

The company’s average revenue per user at its India mobile services unit jumped nearly 30% to 135 rupees in the December quarter. Overall, its revenue rose 8.5% to 219.47 billion rupees.

$1 = 71.2280 Indian rupees Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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