Airtel crosses 3 mn mobile subscribers in Karnataka

BANGALORE: Bharati Airtel has announced that their total mobile subscriber base has crossed three million in Karnataka. With this they claim to be the circle with the largest portion in the Airtel all India subscriber pie of 25.89 million (to end July 2006).

Airtel joint president-mobility Sanjay Kapoor said, "This equals Singapore's subscriber base." Karnataka has been the growth engine for Airtel disclosed Kapoor.

Bangalore has a subscriber base of roughly 50 per cent of Airtel's Karnataka mobile subscribers according to Airtel Karnataka CEO Deepak Mehrotra.

Airtel continues to be Karnataka's no. 1 mobile network in telephony, even beating BSNL mobile services. The only other entity that could match Airtel coverage in numbers and reach is the BSNL landline. Airtel now covers over 12,000 towns and villages in Karnataka, of which more than 11,000 towns and locations have a population of less than 5000. This includes 96 per cent of the gram panchayat area in the state, and covers 63 per cent of the population. Around 500,000 subscribers have been added over the last three months, a million over the last six, informs an official release.

Airtel plans to expand the gram panchayat reach to 100 per cent by March 2007. Mehrotra revealed that Airtel has spent around Rs.14.35 billion capitalization to date in the state and another Rs.3.5 billion have been earmarked till end March 2007.

Karnataka and the Andhra Pradesh circle which stands third after Delhi both contribute to more than 20 per cent of the all India subscribers in the Airtel kitty. While Punjab stands fourth with a subscriber base of around 2.4 million, adds Airtel Karnataka COO V Venkatesh.

Airtel executive director -southern regional hub, mobility Atul Bindal revealed that the southern hub comprising of five circles has had the fastest growth in the number of subscribers in the country.

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