Bharti open to inducting partners in tower biz

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, October 31: | Updated: Oct 31 2007, 20:06pm hrs
Country's top mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it is open to offloading stake to financial and operating partners in its tower business, but only after its demerger during the current quarter.

The company is also in discussions with state-run telecom major BSNL for sharing passive infrastructure across the country, Bharti Airtel's President Manoj Kohli told reporters after announcing the second quarter results in New Delhi.

"We expect the legal demerger of our tower company -- Bharti Infratel -- to be complete in this quarter... We are open to (inducting) financial partners and/or operator partners after it," he said refusing to divulge further details.

The company intends to have a minority stake in its tower company after the demerger.

Bharti Airtel would spend 3.5 billion dollars this year on expansion, under which it will launch Direct to Home and IPTV services.

"We will launch DTH services in the next quarter while IPTV would be introduced in the NCR region in this quarter," Kohli added.

Declining to specify investments for DTH and IPTV services, he said it would be a part of the total capex earmarked for this year.

"We are in discussions with BSNL for sharing passive infrastructure and expect a decision in this regard in the next 1-2 months," Kohli said.