India’s mobile market leader Bharti announced yesterday that its African island subsidiary Airtel Seychelles is preparing to launch 3G mobile services. The launch would make the Seychelles the third country in Africa to offer 3G technology, after Mauritius operator Emtel launched its UMTS network in November 2004, closely followed by South Africa’s Vodacom. Airtel Seychelles says it is investing INR44 million (USD972,000) to upgrade its wireless infrastructure and plans to add new base stations to expand its coverage to more of the Indian Ocean archipelago’s 120 islands. Airtel is Seychelles’ second mobile operator and has been in operation since 1998, controlling around 50% of a market of 60,000 subscribers. Its only rival is British company Cable and Wireless.