Bharti’s Sri Lankan launch pushed back to end of year

12 Sep 2008

India’s Bharti Airtel is hoping to achieve a belated commercial launch of mobile services in Sri Lanka by the end of this year, although it is yet to complete interconnection agreements with the island’s existing operators, reports Indian newspaper The Economic Times. Bharti had previously mooted a launch in March 2008, and later pushed its schedule back to September, but this deadline has been missed, and the group’s joint MD and CEO Manoj Kohli said the firm is in ongoing talks with the local government, regulator and rival operators to overcome differences in opinion on network tariffs. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s cellcos have hit back at accusations that they are preventing the Indian heavyweight’s entry into their market by obstructing interconnection deals. Four operators, Dialog, Hutchison, Mobitel and Tigo said in a joint statement: ‘As strong believers in competition and the resulting dividends to consumers and market growth, Sri Lanka’s mobile operators welcome additional competition.’

Sri Lanka, Bharti Airtel, Bharti Airtel Lanka