New Delhi: Telecom major Bharti Airtel is hoping to start operations in Sri Lanka this calender year although it is yet to put in place an interconnection agreement with the incumbent operators there.
Bharti’s failed to reach an agreement on interconnection with the existing Lanka operators over differences on pricing.
“Our discussions are progressing. We are discussing with (Lanka) regulator, Government and of course with all the operators. Issues are there in every country and they will be resolved soon and I am confident that by the end of this calender year, we should be able to launch service in Sri Lanka,” Bharti Airtel Joint MD and CEO Manoj Kohli said.
He further added that the firm’s entry into Sri Lanka should be smooth so that the benefit can be reaped up by the customers there.
“In India we are adding 8-9 million a month and that’s the speed of growth we need to achieve in Sri Lanka,” he added.
Meanwhile, recently a senior Bharti executive Sanjay Kapoor had blamed Sri Lankan telecom operators for not being able to get interconnections. He said that the local Sri Lankan operators are not giving interconnections on the same terms as they have among themselves indicating cartelisation.
Sri Lankan mobile operators lashed out at Bharti Airtel on being accused that they are preventing the company’s entry into the island by not providing interconnection.
Four operators Dialog, Hutch, Mobitel and Tigo in a joint statement said: “As strong believers in competition and the resulting dividends to consumers and market growth, Sri Lanka’s mobile operators welcome additional competition.”
Kohli said, “We are committed to bring affordability in Sri Lanka, thats a very important role of Bharti Airtel. We believe that affordability which Bharti Airtel has brought to Indian customers should also reach Sri lankan customer.”