Tough Market

Jan 12, 2008 (LBO) – India’s Bharti Airtel launched services in Sri Lanka with simplified tariff plans in an extremely competitive market of four existing players that has seen steep falls in prices ahead of the fifth celco’s entry.

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“We are a company that has operated in the most competitive markets,” Airtel chief Rajan Bharti Mital told reporters in Colombo.

“We are prepared to face the market here and become the leaders.”

Potential customers have been queuing up at the firm’s outlets after an advertising campaign started a week earlier.

“The number of people who picked up pre-registration forms is unbelievably high,” Mital said.

“We were humbled by the surging and overwhelming demand we have been seeing.”

The firm declined to release numbers or the first year targets. Its basic package unveiled Monday is 2.00 rupees outgoing to any network, including its own, free incoming and one rupee for a text message, for a monthly rental of 300 rupees.

The tariff will increase to 2.50 rupee a minute after March 2009.

Airtel Lanka chief executive Amali Nanayakkara said tariff plans offe