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Give 3G spectrum on time or extend licence period: Bharti

Source: PTI
July 23, 2010 18:31 IST
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AirtelBharti Airtel said on Friday the government should extend the licence period of 3G in case it fails to give spectrum to operators by September.

"I have requested that the spectrum should be given on time. If not, then the licence period should be extended," deputy group chief executive officer-cum-managing director of Bharti Enterprises Akhil Gupta said on the sidelines of the Telecom Summit.

For 3G, the licence period is 20 years. Criticising the auction process, Gupta said that shortage of spectrum led to high prices of 3G spectrum.

On the issue of acquiring the remaining 22 per cent stake in Zambia's leading telecom company -- Zain Zambia, he said Bharti is in the process of making an open offer.

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel acquired the African business of Kuwait-based Zain in a $10.7-billion deal, which was completed in June.

As part of the transaction, the firm bought Zain's operations in 15 countries, including Zambia. Bharti Airtel has already acquired 78 per cent stake in Zain Zambia.

According to sources, since the company is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, the Indian firm will be required to make an open offer to Zain Zambia's shareholders for the remaining 22 per cent stake.

"There is an open offer and the process is going on," Gupta said.

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