India's Idea cellular third-quarterly net profit misses estimates on higher charges

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[January 21, 2016]  MUMBAI (Reuters) - Idea Cellular Ltd, India's third-biggest mobile phone operator, said quarterly net profit fell 0.4 percent, missing expectations, weighed down by higher finance charges.

The company, which in December launched its 4G services in select cities, said it had raised its capital expenditure estimate for the fiscal year to March to 75 billion rupees ($1.1 billion), from 60-65 billion rupees guided previously.

Idea, part of the Aditya Birla conglomerate and nearly a fifth owned by Malaysia's Axiata, said consolidated net profit fell to 7.64 billion rupees in its fiscal third quarter to Dec. 31, from 7.67 billion rupees a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a net profit of 8.06 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue in the December quarter rose 12.4 percent from a year earlier to 90.01 billion rupees.

Idea said it expected to roll out 4G services across 750 towns and cities in India by June this year.

Indian mobile operators are bracing for tough competition in an already cutthroat market as Reliance Jio, the telecoms unit of conglomerate Reliance Industries, plans to launch nationwide 4G broadband services later this year.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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