Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Amid reports of Bharti Airtel eyeing Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom, India’s largest mobile company on Wednesday said it was looking at acquisitions in the SAARC region. “We have always said that we are interested in the SAARC region... we have been interested in Bangladesh,” said Bharti Enterprises Deputy Group CEO and Managing Director Akhil Gupta.

After its failed bid to acquire South Africa-based MTN, Bharti Airtel has been looking for buy-out in neighbouring countries, particularly the SAARC region that comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, besides India.

Ready for 3G spectrum

Referring to the much-awaited auction of spectrum for 3G mobile services, Mr. Gupta hoped that it would happen soon and that the company was ready for it. The much-awaited 3G spectrum auction is scheduled to begin on January 14. Meanwhile, media reports said Bharti Airtel might buy 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom for up to $900 million.

Warid Telecom is Bangladesh’s fourth-biggest telecom company which is controlled by UAE-based Dhabi Group. Dhabi Group has reportedly sought approval from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission for the sale of stake in Warid Telecom.