Etisalat in talks to acquire Bharti Airtel Lanka

UAE-based Etisalat is reportedly close to acquiring Bharti Airtel’s operations in Sri Lanka.

The companies have reportedly discussed the deal over the last five months and sources report that the deal could be announced before January next year. 

Both companies have declined to comment on the possible deal.

The move would help Etisalat, the third largest player in Sri Lanka, increase its market share.

In February this year, Etisalat and Alcatel-Lucent signed an agreement to deploy an LTE-FDD in Sri Lanka.

Airtel did not participate in Sri Lanka’s LTE spectrum auction, raising doubts over its long-term commitment to the country.

Since launching its operations in Sri Lanka in 2009, Airtel has been making slow progress in the region. Despite making an investment of $300 million to roll out services in Sri Lanka, the company has fewer than two million users and continues to make losses.

The deal follows Bharti Airtel’s launch of terrestrial fibre-optic cable spanning India and Bangladesh at the end of July this year. 

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