Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel is close to exit from Sri Lankan mobile market by selling its business to Etisalat.
According to reports, Airtel was negotiating for over five months with the UAE-based telecom company and have agreed on the broad contours of the deal, reports NIDAHASA.
An announcement from Airtel is expected before the return of Manoj Kohli, managing director and chief executive officer (International) of the company, in January to India. Kohli is also in-charge of the company’s operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Airtel launched its Sri Lanka operations in 2009 with an investment of over 300 million US dollar, but failed to gain significant market share ending up with a fewer than 1.8 million customer base. Airtel accused of “unfair regulations in Sri Lanka” and alleged blocking off by competition, for their failure.
Airtel covers all 25 administrative districts in Sri Lanka with distribution network of over 41,400 retailers. They offer 3.5G services which are present across major towns in Sri Lanka.
Etisalat is the third largest player in the market with nearly five million subscribers, and acquisition could raise it up to the second position.