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Bharti to launch DTH services this week

Posted by Yogesh on Tuesday, 7 October, 2008

NEW DELHI, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), India’s top telecoms firm, said on Tuesday it would launch direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television services from Oct. 9, initially in 62 cities.

Analysts expect the market to reach 25 million subscribers by 2012 from about 7 million, and Bharti will compete with telecoms rival Reliance Communications (RLCM.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a joint venture of Tata Group and News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Dish TV.

India has 225 million television viewing households, the bulk served by terrestrial or cable television.

“The penetration of the market is just about 3 percent,” Bharti’s chief executive Manoj Kohli told a news conference. “This is a right time for Airtel to enter.”

Kohli declined to say how much of the DTH market Bharti would corner or give details of the firm’s investment in the venture.

But he did add that the investment was included in the $2.5 billion capital expenditure committed by Bharti for the year to March. Kohli also said Bharti would launch its Internet protocol television services by the end of the year.

At 0945 GMT, Bharti shares were up about 3 percent in a Mumbai market that was down 1.3 percent. Source Reuters


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