Reliance Communications profits slip

MUMBAI: India's second-biggest cellular operator Reliance Communications reported Thursday its fourth-quarter net profit fell 3.26 percent from a year earlier, hit by expansion costs.

The company, controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, reported a net profit of 14.54 billion rupees (290 million dollars) for the three months ended March 31 on revenues which grew 15.2 percent to 61.23 billion rupees.

For the full year, Reliance Communications' net profit rose 9.36 percent to 59.07 billion rupees on revenues which climbed 20 percent to 229.41 billion rupees.

The company added a record 11.3 million mobile users between January and March in India, the world's fastest-growing cellular market, after blanketing India with a new GSM network and offering free talk time.

The Reliance figures came a day after India's top mobile phone company Bharti Airtel reported that fourth-quarter net profit jumped 21 percent year-on-year, boosted by a rise in the number of cellphone users.

The two companies are locked in fierce competition for a bigger slice of the world's second-largest cellular market after China.