Bharti plans $600m investment in Nigeria

Nigeria emerges as key telecoms battleground as Bharti unveils investment plan

Tags: Bharti AirtelNigeriaZain - Nigeria
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Bharti plans $600m investment in Nigeria Bharti Airtel appears to be making Nigeria a priority following its acquisition of Zain's African assets. (Getty Images)
By Staff Writer Published  July 7, 2010

Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel plans to invest $600 million in its Nigerian operation in the next three years, with half of the investment to be made in the next 12 months, the company said.

The news follows closely from the completion of Bharti Airtel's $10.7 billion acquisition of most of Zain's African assets last month and indicates that the Indian telco views Nigeria, which has a population of about 150 million people, as a key battleground in Africa's telecoms sector.

The company's decision to invest heavily in Nigeria could also help counter expansion plans from South Africa's MTN Group, one of its main rivals in the country. Last month, MTN Nigeria signed loan agreements worth more than $2 billion with 15 Nigerian banks and two foreign banks to fund its expansion.

Manoj Kohli, CEO international, Bharti Airtel, said his company planned to expand aggressively in Nigeria and also intended to bring its "ecosystem partners" to the country, India's Economic Times reported.

Bharti Airtel competes with MTN, Globacom, Etisalat, and the mobile arm of incumbent operator Nitel in Nigeria, which is widely viewed as one of Africa's most competitive markets.

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