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Airtel Joins Hands with Handset Manufacturers to Launch 100$ 3G Handsets

By Emmanuel Otokhine
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· As Pacnet links up with Airtel to Enhance Connectivity to Asia and USA

The 5th largest telecommunication operator in the world, Airtel is in talks with major mobile handset manufacturers to launch the 3G-enabled handsets below the price of $100.

The penetration of 3G-enabled handsets is currently very low in India and in several other markets. The 3G spectrum was auctioned few months ago in India and after that many telecom operators have launched their 3G services. But, the growth of 3G has been hindered because of high prices of 3G-enabled mobile handsets.

“We see that it (price) is a barrier to the spread of 3G. We think that by bringing it down, we could give a boost to the spread of 3G. We further foresee a breakthrough when it breaches the $50-mark,” Mr Atul Mohan Bindal, President (Mobile Services), Airtel, said. However, he refused to divulge the names of the companies it was talking to.

Airtel, which launched 3G services last month, has over three million subscribers in the third-generation telecom network. In the 3G auction, Airtel has received spectrum in 13 circles out of the 22. It has launched services in Delhi and the NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore, Manipal, Udipi and Jaipur so far.

Meanwhile, Pacnet today announced that it has signed agreements with Bharti Airtel Limited to deliver a new high-speed network connecting Chennai to the US.

The US$120 million network, created through the synergy of Bharti Airtel's i2i cable system and its domestic network in India, together with Pacnet's EAC-C2C and EAC Pacific submarine cable network, will enable businesses and consumers across India to enjoy enhanced high-speed broadband connectivity to the US via Asia.


Simultaneously, both firms will also benefit from gaining additional complementary fiber capacity, as well as additional network routes to increase the diversity and resiliency of their global IP networks.

"Increasing network capacity westward of Singapore is an important step forward in ensuring we are able to deliver on our customers' requirements and keep pace with the growth momentum which we are seeing across India," said Bill Barney, Chief Executive Officer, Pacnet.

"The new Chennai-US network will deliver much needed bandwidth as there is an exponential increase in demand for international connectivity from India to Asia and the US," said Sunanda Das, Country Manager, Pacnet India.

Pacnet's EAC-C2C is Asia's largest privately-owned submarine cable network of 36,800 km, which lands at 18 cable landing stations in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. EAC-C2C has a design capacity of 17.92 Tbps to 30.72 Tbps to and from each of the landing countries with continuous upgrades underway.

About Bharti Airtel Limited
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 19 countries across Asia and Africa. The company offers mobile voice & data services, fixed line, high speed broadband, IPTV, DTH, turnkey telecom solutions for enterprises and national & international long distance services to carriers. Bharti Airtel has been ranked among the six best performing technology companies in the world by BusinessWeek. Bharti Airtel had over 215 million customers across its operations at the end of February 2011. To know more please visit, www.airtel.com