Bharti says telco gear curbs easing;iPhone 4 by October

Bharti says telco gear curbs easing;iPhone 4 by October

New Delhi: India’s curbs on import of telecoms equipment are easing, a senior executive with Bharti Airtel said on Monday.

Bharti is also working with Apple Inc to start selling its iPhone 4 in India, hopefully in September or October, Sanjay Kapoor, the mobile operator’s chief executive for India and South Asia, said.

Carriers in the world’s fastest-growing mobile market must obtain government clearance before they place any equipment purchase order, and earlier this year India had barred some operators from placing orders with China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. on security concerns. Last week, the telecom minister said the government expected to resolve the issue in a couple of weeks.

“I think operators have gone through a bit of a lull in the last six months on equipment clearances but now things have begun to ease up and we are getting the equipment in place," Bharti’s Kapoor told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event.

The government has discussed the issue with carriers and is in the process of putting out a revised policy for telecom gear imports that would elaborate on appropriate security checks to be put in place, officials say.

Bharti Airtel, which won third-generation (3G) spectrum in 13 of 22 telecoms zones in a recently concluded auction, will be allotted the radio airwaves in September.

Kapoor said they would work towards “aggressive time lines" for the roll out of 3G services, without elaborating further.

“A very large amount of the network is 3G ready," he said.