Bharti Tele plans $700-M expansion in 2005-06

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Tuesday, 28 September 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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SINGAPORE: Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd, India's second largest mobile service provider, said on Tuesday it may spend about $700 million in 2005-06 to expand networks to boost its share of the world's fastest growing major mobile market.
India's galloping wireless sector is growing by more than 1.6 million users a month, and is widely expected to more than double next year from about 43 million now thanks to one of the cheapest call rates in the world.

"We will spend about $700 million on networks next year," Bharti group chairman Sunil Mittal told reporters on the sidelines of an industry seminar.

"We are trying to grow our market share by one percentage point this year. That is our target," he said.

Bharti has already announced plans to spend between $700-$750 million in the year ending March 2005 to expand its reach in the market.

The group was one of the earliest entrants in India's booming mobile market, and has more than 8.3 million customers giving it a 21 per cent share of the overall industry.

Carriers such as Bharti, 28 per cent owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and larger rivals like Reliance Infocomm Ltd regularly resort to tariff cuts to grow their business and lure customers away from competitors.

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