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Bharti Airtel to buy Alcatel-Lucent stake in joint venture

Bharti Airtel said the entity would operate independently and going forward it would invite other telecommunications operators for equity participation and bring the management of their broadband and fixed-line networks under the entity.
New Delhi:

Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it is buying the entire shareholding in the joint venture with Alcatel-Lucent as part of a new business model to manage fixed line and broadband networks.

Bharti would acquire the entire equity stake in Alcatel-Lucent Managed Network Service India.

In a statement, Bharti said it was introducing a new business model for managing fixed line and DSL broadband networks, on the lines of Indus Towers.

Bharti Airtel subsidiary Bharti Infratel holds 42 per cent stake in Indus Towers, while Vodafone (42 per cent) and Idea (16 per cent) hold the rest.

"The operations of the entity will be strengthened by the transition of proven tools, processes and all manpower and skilled resources from the existing joint venture," the statement said.

The entity would operate independent of Bharti. Going forward, the entity would invite other operators to join in with equity participation and bring the management of their broadband and fixed line networks under its fold.

Shishir Kumar, currently the Bharti Airtel's CEO (Upper North) has been appointed as the CEO of the entity.

"... with this innovative model, we are breaking new ground in an industry which is on the cusp of a massive data growth," Bharti Airtel CEO (India & South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor said.

This new model, along with the recently launched Network Experience Centre, would provide greater control for Bharti Airtel over the delivery of a world-class data experience to customers, he added.

Financial details were not disclosed.

On the latest development, Alcatel-Lucent India president and managing director Munish Seth said the joint venture was a catalyst in transforming Bharti's Telemedia business at an accelerated pace.

"The formation of this new model is a step in that direction and will leverage the core competencies that Alcatel Lucent Managed Network Service India has built over time," he said.

Bharti Airtel offers broadband, data and telephone services (fixed line) in 87 Indian cities and has a customer base of 3.3 million. Out of them, 1.4 million are subscribed to broadband/internet services.

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