IFC lends $100 mn to Idea Cellular

IFC lends $100 mn to Idea Cellular


Mumbai: IFC, an arm of the World Bank, said on Wednesday it had loaned $100 million to India’s Idea Cellular Ltd to help expand availability of affordable mobile telephone services in the country.

“The loan will help strengthen Idea’s network in its existing markets and enable extension of services to Bihar, one of the few states in India without a well-developed telecommunications network," IFC said in a statement.

“IFC’s investment will provide the much-needed long-term funding that many companies in India find difficult to access, while helping expand the local telecommunications infrastructure," Sanjeev Aga, managing director of Idea, said.

Idea, India’s fifth-largest mobile operator, last month launched services in Mumbai and also provides services in 11 of India’s 22 telecoms service areas.

“The extension of services in Bihar will help increase telephone penetration in the eastern state to more than 20% by 2012 from less than 8% in 2008," IFC said.

“IFC and Idea are developing a project to deliver mobile phone-based communications and other services to rural communities and the urban poor in India," it said.