Indian Visitor

January 18, 2007 (LBO) – India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd has been tentatively picked to take up a slot as Sri Lanka’s fifth mobile phone operator, the island’s telecom watchdog said Thursday.

“We have issued an offer letter to Bharti, who have a month to make a 4 milllion dollar payment to collect the license,” Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Director General, Kanchana Ratwatte told LBO.

Bharti has also promised to invest 100 million dollars within the first year of operation, Ratwatte said adding that the Indian operator plans to rollout the network by the end of this year, offering second and third generation (2G and 3G) services.

Bharti Mittal, Bharti’s Chairman said the Sri Lankan operations, will be the first international foray for the company and is in line with the group’s plans to expand into the South Asian region.

“The South Asian region offers tremendous growth opportunities and Sri Lanka is a very promising market for telecom services,” he said adding that “Bharti Airtel with its extensive experience and unique business model will strive to offer world-class services at affordable rates to the people of Sri Lanka.”

Telecom, is one of the fastest g