Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel and Idea have finalised an infrastructure sharing agreement which will see them transfer about 70,000 mobile mast sites into a joint venture company, Indus Towers. Vodafone and Bharti will each have a 42% stake in the joint venture, while Idea will have 16%. By sharing sites, and equipment such as electric generators, the trio hope to reduce their costs by avoiding duplication of capital and operating expenditure. About another 50,000 towers will be built over the next two to three years to increase mobile coverage. The infrastructure sharing agreement should help Vodafone to meet financial criteria surrounding its USD10.9 billion purchase of a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth largest mobile operator, in May.