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Airtel to invest over $2 billion in 2007-08

The company would concentrate on rural areas, which have huge growth potential, in the years to come.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2007 16:58 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Bharti Airtel, India's largest private cellular operator, on Thursday announced an investment of over $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) in 2007-08 to expand network, but wanted state-run BSNL to share infrastructure.

"Of the total capex for the next financial year, maximum will go for the rural areas," Akhil Gupta, joint managing director, Bharti Airtel, said on the sidelines of a conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry and Ericsson.

Gupta, however, raised the issue of infrastructure sharing with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, saying this would lead to faster roll out of networks there.

"I appeal to the government to force BSNL to share its infrastructure with private operators," he said.

BSNL has so far opposed such an arrangement, saying huge investments have gone in creating rural infrastructure and private players should not be allowed to take undue advantage.

Gupta also said the company was waiting for rules to be framed for introduction of next generation (3G) mobile services to start operations both in rural and urban areas.

The company has chalked out its rural strategy and would concentrate on rural areas, which have huge growth potential, in the years to come, he said.

First Published: Jan 18, 2007 16:58 IST