New Delhi: Bharti Enterprises, the parent of top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel , and Japanese telecom firm Softbank Corp said they have formed a mobile Internet joint venture to invest in social media, gaming and e-commerce.
Financial details of the equal joint venture, Bharti Softbank Holdings Pte Ltd, were not disclosed.
With more than 850 million mobile subscribers, India is the world’s second-biggest market for telecoms services lagging only China.
Firms including Bharti Airtel have launched third-generation (3G) networks and are betting on growth of mobile data services in a country where voice calls account for close to 90% of carriers’ revenue. Computer penetration is very low.
“With a fast growing economy, a large youth population and access to cheaper and faster data, there is a unique opportunity...especially in a country where the first screen for most is a mobile device,” said Kavin Mittal, head of strategy and new product development of the joint venture, on Thursday.
Kavin Mittal is one of Bharti’s founder billionaire Sunil Mittal’s twin sons. Mittal’s other son, Shravin, had last year joined Bharti Airtel’s international operations.
Bharti Enterprises has interests ranging from retail to financial services. Bharti Airtel is world’s fifth-biggest mobile operator by subscribers with operations in 19 countries across Asia and Africa.