New Delhi: India’s top mobile phone company, Bharti Airtel Ltd., said Wednesday it plans to begin operations in neighboring Sri Lanka by March next year and invest US$200 million in the island nation over the next five years.
Bharti will use the Airtel brand to provide its services through its Sri Lankan subsidiary, the company said in a statement.
“The customers in Sri Lanka can look forward to a host of innovative products and services at affordable prices from Airtel’s vast portfolio,” it said.
Bharti Airtel, which offers phone and broadband services to 45 million customers in India, has been among the country’s most profitable and fast growing companies in recent years, thanks to a boom in mobile phone services.
The New Delhi-based company has been looking to expand overseas. Sri Lanka will be its third overseas market.
Bharti was recently granted the license to provide 2G and 3G mobile services in Sri Lanka, the statement said. Much of its planned investment in Sri Lanka -- about US$200 million (euro150 million) over a five-year period -- will be made over the next 12 to 18 months, it said.
“With (Sri Lanka’s) mobile penetration of around 30 percent and growing at a rate of approximately 2 million mobile users per annum, we are excited about our entry into this market,” said Sanjay Kapoor, president of mobile services at Bharti Airtel.