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Airtel to sell Sri Lanka operations to Etisalat

17 December 2013 05:20 am - 28     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Bharti Airtel is close to selling its operations in Sri Lanka to UAE-based telecom company Etisalat, The Hindu newspaper reported today. The two companies have been negotiating for over five months now and have agreed on the broad contours of the deal.

Manoj Kohli, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (International) and in-charge of the company’s operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, declined to comment.

Sources close to the company, however, said Kohli is set to return to India in January and the deal could be announced before that.

Bharti Airtel had announced the launch of its Sri Lanka operations in 2009 but the company has not been able to make inroads in terms of market share, with just under two million users. Airtel has invested over $300 million to roll out services in Sri Lanka but continues to make losses.

The company had earlier lamented about unfair regulations in Sri Lanka as they did not allow new players to be flexible with tariffs. The company had said it was facing serious interference on issues related to frequencies. Airtel did not participate in the auctions held earlier this year for 4G spectrum, which indicated that it did not have long-term plans for the Lankan market.

Etisalat, on the other hand, is currently the third largest player with nearly five million subscribers.

Acquiring Airtel’s operations would help Etisalat move up the ranking.

Bharti Airtel has followed a different strategy in Bangladesh. It acquired a 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom in January 2010.

Earlier this year, it picked up the 30 per cent it did not own in the Warid Group’s telecom operations in that country.
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  Comments - 28

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  • Freelancer Tuesday, 17 December 2013 03:30 PM

    where is my comment.

    sisirafb Wednesday, 18 December 2013 08:24 AM

    Both are bankoloth mobile. Bankoloth + bankoloth. anathai

    ruwan Tuesday, 17 December 2013 08:10 AM

    Why they came to sri lanka in the first place !!! Was sri lanka bigger than india before they come here .....lol very funny kohil

    Niran Tuesday, 17 December 2013 08:11 AM

    would you pull out of Singapore sighting the same reason?

    R Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:18 AM

    This is a good move, Etisalat and Mobitel should give a good run to bureaucratic Dialog, where they do not treat their customers for what they pay and holding back number portability. I would even prefer a JV between Mobitel and Etisalat so the subscribers are benefited.

    kamal Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:26 AM

    what about srilankan air-tel customers?

    Sanga Tuesday, 17 December 2013 04:27 PM

    Aiyo mata dan maaru wenna thanak naa!

    Aja Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:34 AM

    good go back to India leave us lone .

    Calistus Jayatilleke Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:45 AM

    Aiyo, it is a simple matter!

    thariq Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:49 AM

    OMG.... What will happen to my free data plans?????

    Borolugoda Tuesday, 17 December 2013 10:53 AM

    First of all Airtel Lanka Heads should go back to homes.

    Nutcracker Suite Tuesday, 17 December 2013 10:53 AM

    When I lived in India, I used Airtel! It was terrible there, as well.

    Kithsiri iddamalgoda Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:31 AM

    before many years i infome indian air tell [sri lanka large scale frauds with some indian officers] no one take action today lost and leaving

    ind Tuesday, 17 December 2013 11:44 AM

    Yes, it has been sold ! Only signing the agreement is left.

    mahesh Tuesday, 17 December 2013 06:07 AM

    now we know whos the GADOL

    Gigs Tuesday, 17 December 2013 06:10 AM

    I still believe that this is a market speculation...Selling airtel's Sri Lankan operation would definitely be a black patch to airtel's global brand

    Goofy Tuesday, 17 December 2013 06:25 AM

    I too got an Airtel connection at the inception of their service. It was horrible and had the connection terminated.

    Kohli Tuesday, 17 December 2013 06:38 AM

    Sri Lankan market tiny comparing to India. good move.

    Kithsiri iddamalgoda Friday, 20 December 2013 12:00 PM

    local hired many persons also involved large scale frauds
    eg supply contaminated fuel and engine oil for power generators also use kirloskar power generators with manufacturing defects [no auto starting and try to use sub standerd spare parts now today sri lanka many areas power generatoras brake down no qulified engineers for repairs .ceb power faliure time this power generators should auto start no start means tower malfunction and sri lanken avoid to buy air tell sim cards after result is air tell lost

    kithsiri iddamalgoda

    Be Fair Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:08 AM

    Sure its been sold to Etisalat.........?????????

    AKRAM PASHA Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:09 AM

    its sad to hear about this news.we need competitors in order to get best benefits to the clients.personally i m using air tel connection and its best than the other connections.

    Silva Tuesday, 17 December 2013 02:09 PM

    Singapore has only 3. Two are indirectly owed by the Govt. This move could be due to TN pressure. But they also have a case of loss making

    lkboy Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:10 AM

    which means more snooping!

    Sahan Thursday, 19 December 2013 04:47 AM

    What's happen to local hired employees?

    Sahan Thursday, 19 December 2013 05:07 AM

    after selling whats happen to Huawei -Airtel Manage service project?

    himalayan Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:38 AM

    Sad, inStead of a competitive market, communication Sector iS heading back to monopoly of a feW playerS.... Airtel WaS a game-changer in termS fairly loW call tariffS. letS See

    rosa Tuesday, 17 December 2013 02:56 PM

    It is a SIMPLE Plan.

    ganesh Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:45 AM

    No wonder Airtel did not have a proper leader from the inception. Sri Lankan was the biggest corporate account thanks to the fisrt ceo's husband


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