Indian mobile holding company Bharti Cellular has announced plans to invest USD17.5 million in its Uttar Pradesh (West) and Uttaranchal-based subsidiary AirTel in the financial year 2003, taking the total investment in the operator to USD50 million since its launch in November 2001. AirTel plans to roll out services to 25 new towns in the region, including Firozabad, Hathrus, Gajraula, Philkua and Mawana. It also revealed that it hopes to install 104 new base stations in the financial year taking the total in the area to 340.
In a separate matter, the Indian government has set up a new telecoms ministerial panel to help smooth decision making on telecoms-related issues and speed up growth in the industry. The first issue to be discussed by the six-member board will be a proposed hike in the limit on foreign direct investment in telcos, from 49% to 74%.