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S Tel to start Indian mobile ops by Q4

Batelco increases its stake in India’s S Tel to 42.7% after investing a further $38.8 million

S Tel, the Indian mobile affiliate of Bahrain’s Batelco Group, is set to start mobile operations in India by the end of the year.

Batelco confirmed the development after investing a further US$38.8 million in S Tel this week, increasing its stake in the firm to 42.7%, up from the 36.69% shareholding it acquired in May.

“We have been working very closely with our partners and we are looking forward to the launch of full services from S Tel during Quarter 4 this year,” said Peter Kaliaropoulos, CEO, Batelco Group.

Kaliaropoulos added that the investment in S Tel, which is Batelco’s first venture outside the Middle East, offers significant growth potential in India’s mobile and broadband sector.

S Tel, which was established to enter the fast growing mobile markets of North East and North West India, has licenses to operate in six Indian states comprising Bihar, Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North East and Assam. These states have a combined population of some 230 million people and mobile penetration less than 20%.

Kaliaropoulos added that Batelco plans to continue its regional expansion drive through acquisitions of other operators and licences in the Middle East and Africa, India and Asia Pacific.

Last week, Kaliaropoulos told Arabian Business that Batelco could spend as much as $2 billion on acquisitions in North Africa over the next twelve months.

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