Bharti Airtel, India’s mobile and Internet services giant having 118 million subscribers, will acquire 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom International, 4th largest mobile operator in Bangladesh.
The acquisition is estimated to be around $300 million. As a result of the deal, Bharti Airtel control of the management and the board of Warid.
Airtel has long aspired to expand into international market, and this becomes the second practical step. In actual, this was the third attempt, the last one was with MTN Group, South Africa which didn’t get through approval from government. In addition to this years’ deal, last year also Airtel launched operations in Sri Lanka where it fetched over 1 million customers.
With a population of over 160 million, and with only 32 out of 100 people having telephones, Bangladesh is a promising market for growth for Airtel.
The Indian mobile services market is meanwhile also growing. India added 17.65 million new mobile subscribers in November, taking the total to 506 million, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Bharti Airtel had about 116 million subscribers at the end of November.
Due to the Strong competition, India happens to have cheapest mobile voice calls in the world: The tariffs for Airtel are below INR 0.01 which is roughly US$0.0002 per second for voice calls. And the cheapest one goes even beyond upto 0.01 INR for 6 seconds as provided by TATA DOCOMO for limited groups.
The competition is on the large, and its tough for Telecom companies in India to operate at very low margin. Rising to the intentional market means alot more sense.