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Aircel in expansion mode, seeks to enter Delhi, Mumbai by April

Aircel in expansion mode, seeks to enter Delhi, Mumbai by April
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First Published: Thu, Mar 12 2009. 09 34 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Mar 12 2009. 09 34 PM IST
Hyderabad: Mobile telephony firm Aircel Cellular Ltd will offer services in Delhi and Mumbai by April and expand its footprint to more areas that include Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, an official said.
The cellular phone services firm, India’s fifth largest on the global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology platform, will expand to 18 telecom circles instead of the current 12 by the end of next month, chief operating officer Gurdeep Singh said.
As part of its expansion plans, Aircel—a 76:24 joint venture between Malaysia’s Maxis Communication Bhd and India’s Apollo Hospital Ltd—said that it would invest $5 billion (Rs25,850 crore) in capital expenditure, phased over a “period of three to five years”, according to Singh.
The firm expects to have around 30 million subscribers by December, up from the current 17 million.
Aircel currently has a India market share of 5%.
On Thursday, Aircel entered the Andhra Pradesh market, and said it has invested Rs500 crore for setting up infrastructure, retail stores and call centre services in the state. It intends to invest an additional Rs500 crore by the end of December to expand operations to all major towns in Andhra Pradesh.
Since February, Aircel has entered Kerala and Karnataka markets, besides Andhra Pradesh.
It also provides services in Tamil Nadu, Assam and North-East telecom circles and plans to enter Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana before mid-2010.
According to chief marketing officer Rahul Saighal, the expansion into various telecom circles has been timed to make use of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) for reaching out to customers and creating brand awareness in new markets.
Aircel has a sponsorship deal with the Chennai Super Kings, one of the IPL teams.
“In the current scenario, given the high penetration levels, getting into new markets is extremely difficult for new mobile service providers,” said Romal Shetty, executive director, telecom, at consultancy firm KPMG.
“However, if the government rolls out mobile-number portability, that would help new operators if they stand out for their customer service and quality of service besides having a strong branding.”
Mobile number portability allows customers to change service providers while retaining their mobile numbers.
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First Published: Thu, Mar 12 2009. 09 34 PM IST