Bharti to retain vendors for its 3G mobile network

Bharti to retain vendors for its 3G mobile network. (SUPPLIED)

Leading Indian telecommunications carrier Bharti Airtel will work with its existing equipment suppliers when it builds its 3G mobile network following a long-delayed auction, a top executive said.

Rajan Bharti Mittal, a director on the company's board, also said he saw no regulatory obstacles to Bharti Airtel's pending $9 billion (Dh33bn) purchase of the African assets of Kuwait's Zain, which would make Bharti one of world's top five mobile companies by subscribers.

On Friday, India kicked off its long-delayed 3G spectrum auction in which nine carriers are vying for licences to build third-generation (3G) mobile networks in parts or all of India, touching off a multi-billion-dollar spending spree by the likes of Bharti and Reliance Communications."We have our vendor partners, as you know," Mittal, sibling of Bharti Airtel's billionaire founder Sunil Bharti Mittal, told Reuters in an interview yesterday, on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in China.

Mittal, who is also managing director of the telecom operator's parent, Bharti Enterprises, named Sweden's Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as two of Bharti Airtel's partners.

Ericsson said in March that it had won a $1.3bn network expansion contract to upgrade Bharti Airtel's GSM network, while Nokia Siemens in February won a $700 million deal from Bharti. "For 3G, we will go back to existing relationships and we will have to figure it out," Mittal said.

"We always have and we like to maintain," he said, referring to relationships with existing vendors. India's spectrum auction is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

 

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