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Friday, Oct 22, 2004

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Airtel to tap rural markets in AP

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Oct. 21

AIRTEL has decided to aggressively start tapping the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh from next year.

The private cellular major is currently chalking out detailed investment and marketing strategies aimed at attaining a lead over BSNL in the rural markets, the Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Cellular Ltd, Andhra Pradesh, Mr K. Srinivas, said.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, on the eve of launching the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution) network in the State, he said BSNL had acquired a sizeable market share in the rural areas by its strategy of early entry into small towns and villages.

Stating that rural markets have huge potential, Mr Srinivas said Airtel was firming up plans to enter into small towns and villages with a population as low as 10,000 in the next six months. "We are currently busy working the modalities for an aggressive rural penetration," he said.

Airtel plans to add 95 more towns to its network in Andhra Pradesh, taking the tally to 300-plus towns soon. "This will further strengthen our network in AP and provide an unmatched mobile experience to all our customers, making Airtel the largest mobile network in the region," he said.

Further, Airtel, which is currently present in 19 circles across the country, plans to shortly roll out its mobile services in four new circles - Orissa, Bihar, North East and Assam - taking the tally to 23 circles. The mobile operator has so far invested over Rs 10,000 crore on the infrastructure across the country, he said.

According to Mr Srinivas, the mobile telephony market in the country was currently growing at 70-80 per cent per annum and Airtel expects to record faster growths owing to its aggressive investment plans. Declining to give the break up of investments State-wide, he said nearly 10 per cent of its investments were going into the AP market, which is considered one of the significant markets for Bharti Enterprise.

With a subscriber base of nearly 8-lakh as at the end of September this year, Airtel has a market share of 34.5 per cent in GSM space in the State, Mr Srinivas said.

More Stories on : Telecommunications | Rural Marketing | Andhra Pradesh

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