Airtel said to plan $1b investment in 3G

30 Jun 2015

India's Bharti Airel reportedly plans to invest $1 billion to expand its 3G coverage this financial year to fund an aggressive rollout plan.

The operator will use its recently-acquired data spectrum to expand its 3G presence in both existing and new telecom circles, a source told India's Economic Times.

Airtel plans to use both 2100-MHz and 900-MHz spectrum to offer 3G services in 21 of India's 22 telecom circles. The company acquired new 900-MHz spectrum in eight circles during an auction in March.

On top of the domestic 3G spending, Airtel plans to invest an additional $1.3 billion in capex across India and South Asia, according to the report.

While Airtel declined to comment on the veracity of the source's assertion, Airtel CEO for India and South Asia Gopal Vittal previously stated that the company plans to aggressively roll out 3G networks over the next financial year, particularly in the first half.

Airtel is also deploying 4G services, but analysts expect the company's 3G rollout to eclipse 4G for some time because 3G better suits the demands of the Indian market. Currently around one third of Airtel's cell sites are 3G capable, up from 22.6% a year earlier.

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