Bharti Airtel gets licence for Lankan biz

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:43am hrs
Indias largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it had received a licence from Sri Lankas telecom regulatory commission for offering cellular services 2G and 3G to the island nation. This will be the first international operation of Bharti Airtel because so far, Bharti Global, a subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, has been handling the groups international telecom operations.

The offer was in step with the company's plans to expand its telecom business in South Asia, a company statement said.

Sources said Bharti was chosen from among nine operators, including Reliance Communications Bharti will be the fifth operator in Sri Lanka. Four operators already provide mobile services in the island nation. They are: Dialogue, a Telekom Malaysia company; Celltel, owned by Millicom; Mobitel, owned by Sri Lanka Telecom, a government firm; and Hutchison, which operates services through Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL). Today, the South Asian region offers tremendous growth opportunities and Sri Lanka is a very promising market for telecom services, Sunil Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Airtel, said.

Bharti Global, a subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, has been providing comprehensive telecom services in Seychelles under the Airtel brand since 1998. Recently, it launched 3G services in that country.