Million Mark

July 28, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Bharti Airtel has exceeded one million customers and the firm is rolling out its network in the east of the island, following the end of a 30-year war in the island, a top official said. “We have exceeded one million customers in Sri Lanka in 171 days of operations,” Bharti Airtel group deputy chief executive Sanjay Kapoor told reporters in Colombo.

Kapoor said Airtel has already started to roll out its network in the east of the island and would soon start building in the north.

A 30-year war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May and authorities have encouraged telecom operators to move to the area.

Telecom operators who already had networks in the area faced restriction during the war.

Kapoor said Bharti’s entry triggered a price war even before the company entered the market with its actual services.

“We have led the affordability trend in the country,” Kapoor said.

“Rumours of our plans caused shuffles in tariff plans, benefiting Sri Lankan phone users.”

Sri Lankan telecom sector is bleeding following the price war, but expansion in the north and east as well as a revival in tourism has bettered prospects for operators after the war.

Airt