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article imageBharti Airtel to invest $100m in network expansion in Malawi Special

By Chancy Namadzunda     Jun 22, 2010 in World
Lilongwe - Bhrti Airtel, one of the largest mobile companies in the world, which has recently acquired African operations of Zain, will inject $100 million in network expansion in Malawi.
Barti Airtel CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director Manoj Kohli said the investment will go towards connecting telecommunication services to rural people who are mostly farmers.
“We want to take telecommunication services to the rural areas of Malawi. We want our services to benefit farmers be it 2G or 3g, we want to give then guidance, seeds selection and knowledge on the sales of their produce,” Kohli told the press in Lilongwe adding that they are targeting to reach out to 7million subscribers (50 percent of the population).
However, the main challenge, according to Kohli will be electricity power availability in the rural areas.
“But we are glad that Zain Malawi already has a rural service provision through solar paneled booths and we will take it from there,” he said.
He said they are planning to increase airtime usage from the current 50 minutes to 200-250 to enable Malawian talk more.
Apart from the $100 million network expansion, Kohli said other core aims are to provide affordable services, expansion of services to agro-family of the country and providing good education to the underprivileged.
“Improving the education sector for the underprivileged children in the rural areas through school building and free education is the key to the country’s economic growth. We understand that the poor children deserve to get good education for the betterment of their future.
“We have come in as a partner in Malawi’s growth and will work with the government and other stakeholders to take telecom networks deep into all villages and towns of the country to touch the common man,” he said.
The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
With the successful completion of Zain’s acquisition, Bharti is now the fifth largest mobile company in the world with over 180 million customers.
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