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Dec 10, 2013

Airtel to contribute to Punjab’s digital inclusion agenda

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Mohali: Bharti Airtel Limited (“Airtel”), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today said that it will invest over INR 4000 crores in the Indian State of Punjab over the next 5 years to expand services and contribute to the Government of Punjab’s digital inclusion agenda.

Airtel and the Government of Punjab today signed an agreement on the sidelines of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit, under which Airtel will take its high speed 4G LTE services to all towns and villages across Punjab and put the State on the data superhighway.
Airtel launched Punjab’s first 4G LTE services in Chandigarh Tri-City in March 2013, making it one of the first States in India to experience the world-class technology. As part of the agreement, the Company willlay an additional 10,000 km of optic fiber across Punjab and expand its 4G footprint to cover most of the State’s population over the next few years. This will provide a major boost to growth of broadband services in rural areas and enable delivery of services such e-governance, e-education, e-health and much more. In particular, it will provider fillip to the growth of the digital economy in the State and support businesses as well as the Government.

Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group CEO, Bharti Enterprisessaid, “Airtel has been at the forefront of Punjab’s telecom growth story and we are delighted to be a partner in Government of Punjab’s vision to build a digitally inclusive State. Just like the mobile phone connected millions across Punjab, this high speed data connectivity initiative will further empower people with information and services available at the touch of a screen. I am confident that this initiative will make Punjab a model State for rest of the country.”

In addition, Airtel will invest in its existing 2G mobile operations, Wire-line & DSL Broadband, DTH services, M-Commerce Services offering in the State. It will also expand its Enterprise Services offerings that provide end-to-end technology solutions to Corporates and SMEs.
Airtel launched mobile services in Punjab in 2002 and is the largest mobile operator in the State with over 7.2 million customers. Till date, it has invested over INR 4800 crores in its operations in the State and its mobile network covers all 162 towns and 12,750 villages, reaching 94% of the population. The Company’s distribution network across Punjab spans 50,000 retailers and its operations provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to over 65,000 peopleacross the State.

Bharti Group has a significant presence in Punjab beyond telecom services. Its retail venture, Bharti Retail, operates 70 stores (out of 212 stores nationally) under the easyday brand across major towns in the State. The Bharti-Axa JV offers financial services across major centers. It is engaged in Agri and Food business through FieldFresh Foods, which has set up the FieldFreshAgri Centre of Excellence- one of the largest R&D facilities of its kind - in Ladhowal (Ludhiana). The Group provides direct and indirect employment to over 70,000 people in the State.
Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Group, which has set up 254 Satya Bharti Schools for undeprvileged children in villages across India, operates 90Satya Bharti Schoolsin Punjab. These Schoolsprovide free quality education to over 10,000 children along with free books, uniforms and mid-day meals. In addition, Bharti Foundation has setup 5 Adarsh Senior Secondary Schools on a PPP model with the Government of Punjab, benefiting over 3000 children.

About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 281 million customers across its operations at the end of October 2013. To know more please visit www.airtel.com


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