Bharti Tele NLD Services Operation Likely By Sept 15

Mumbai, Aug 30: | Updated: Aug 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Bharti Televentures expects its National Long Distance (NLD) services to be fully operational by the first or second week of September. Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference in Mumbai to announce the launch of a new advertising campaign starring music maestro A R Rahman, Bharti Joint MD Rajan Bharti Mittal said that the company expects to sign the interconnect agreement for its NLD service with MTNL any day now. Dwelling on Airtels performance in Mumbai since its launch a few weeks ago, Mr Mittal said that while it was too early to comment on the subscriber numbers, the strategy that has worked for Airtel in Mumbai is its aggressive pricing as well as regional roaming in the pre paid category. The region encompasses Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP, Goa and Mumbai.

On the performance of the cellular industry as a whole this year, Mr Mittal said that the sector currently has about eight million subscribers and expects to close the year with about thirteen to fourteen million subscribers. The average revenue per user currently stands at about $16.

The cellular sector currently has 70 per cent of its subscribers in the pre paid category and 30 per cent in the post paid category. Mr Mittal felt that with the more stringent registration norms that have come into force for the pre paid category, the sector is likely to see a flow of these customers back into the post paid category.

On other investment plans for the company, Mr Mittal indicated that an investment of about Rs 150 crore is planned in the companys IT infrastrucrure this year.