Reliance, Aircel, Idea pump $600 Million to Karnataka market
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Reliance, Aircel, Idea pump $600 Million to Karnataka market

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 31 March 2009, 06:51 Hrs
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Bangalore: Three GSM mobile services providers are looking to pump in close to Rs 3,000 crore ($600 million) to establish their presence in the Karnataka market, presently growing at a tremendous pace, reported Business Standard.

Reliance Communications, Aircel and Idea from the Aditya Birla Group are set to take on established players Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL in the Karnataka market, which grew at 60 percent last year with a total subscriber base of 21 million. Bharti Airtel currently leads the pack with close to 10 million subscribers in Karnataka.

Reliance is planning to invest around Rs 800 crore to establish its state-wide network. The company already has a strong footprint in the CDMA segment in Karnataka with around 4 million subscribers; and is set to replicate its coverage with the GSM platform as well, being the only operator to offer both services.

Reliance Communications says that Karnataka is part of its largest launch worldwide. "With the launch of its enhanced GSM service, Reliance customers will now be able to use a range of over 250 handsets and devices. Reliance customers can now roam on more networks globally in over 200 countries - offering a wider choice to customers in India," a source in the company noted.

Meanwhile, Aircel, majority-owned by Maxis of Malaysia is set to invest Rs 1,100 crore over the next year to set up base stations across Karnataka. Aircel chief operating officer Gurdeep Singh said recently that the company has so far spent Rs 550 crore as start-up investments in Bangalore, becoming the ninth cellular operator to start operations in the city.

The Chennai-based firm will set up 1,200 new base stations in Karnataka over the next two months, from 500 base stations currently.

While Aircel is a relatively new entrant, Aditya Birla Group-owned Idea Cellular, after its takeover of Spice Telecom recently, is aggressively rolling out plans to build on Spice’s 1.4 million subscriber base in Karnataka. With the Karnataka launch, Idea has become the third largest private GSM player in the country with over 36 million subscribers. Idea plans to increase its coverage to 11,200 towns and villages from the present 3,410 by March 2010.

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