Bharti expands in Uganda, MTS India appoints new CEO, Bangladesh 3G auction delayed

India’s mobile operators have been busy this week, with Bharti Airtel announcing an acquisition in Uganda, and MTS India appointing a new CEO. Meanwhile across the border, Bangladesh’s 3G spectrum auction has hit another delay.

Bharti Airtel has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Abu Dhabi Group-owned operator Warid Telecom’s Ugandan business. The Indian operator group intends to merge Warid Telecom Uganda with its own Ugandan subsidiary.

According to Airtel, the move will consolidate its position as the second largest mobile operator in Uganda.  Airtel currently has 4.6 million customers in Uganda, whereas Warid Telecom has 2.8 million. With the two entities combined Airtel will have a market share of over 39 per cent, the operator said.

“We are delighted at this agreement with Warid, which also happens to be the first in-market acquisition in Bharti Airtel’s history,” said Manoj Kohli, MD and CEO at Bharti Airtel.

”We believe this market consolidation offers great synergies by bringing together the best of Airtel and Warid to better serve customers in Uganda and drive forward our vision of offering affordable best in-class services in Africa. This development will translate to a healthier telecom sector in Uganda which will be ready to invest & grow in wireless broadband and mCommerce services”.

The agreement is subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.

Meanwhile, rival Sistema Shyam TeleServices, which operates the MTS India brand, has announced that Dmitry Shukov will take over from Vsevolod Rozanov as president and CEO. Shukov is expected to take the helm on June 1, 2013.

With 20 years of work experience, starting his career as an engineer, Shukov is an MTS veteran and previously held the roles of CEO at MTS Turkmenistan and MTS Uzbekistan.

Mikhail Shamolin, president of Sistema JSFC, said: “Dmitry has a wealth of operational experience, business acumen, and inspirational leadership needed to spearhead SSTL’s next phase of growth. We welcome his appointment and look forward to his contribution in taking the company to OIBDA-positive stage.”

Outgoing president and CEO Rozanov will take on a senior position within the firm, MTS stated.

And over the border in Bangladesh, telecoms regulator the BTRC is proposing to delay the country’s 3G spectrum auction from June to July 2013. The move comes after Bangladesh’s government approved measures to offer eight blocks of 5Mhz, instead of four blocks of 10Mhz, to encourage the smaller networks to participate in the auction, according to local newspaper the Daily Star.

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