Vodafone Essar rules out merging tower business with Bharti

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New Delhi, Oct 8 (UNI) Vodafone Chief Executive Arun Sarin today said the company has no plans to merge its tower business with Bharti but it is open to an agreement to share telecom infrastructure including mobile towers with other telecom players.

''We have no plans to merge our telecom business with Bharti but looking at cooperating with Bharti and others on sharing telecom towers,'' Mr Sarin told reporters.

We are working on an MoU with Bharti on sharing infrastructure.

It has not been converted into a definite agreement yet, he added.

Talks have been on for some time about Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular on the possibility of merging their passive infrastructure to form a mega tower company.

According to industry estimates as of August, Bharti has 40,000 towers, Vodafone has 20,000 and Idea owned almost 10,000 towers.

Mr Sarin said Vodafone Essar Ltd to augment its services in the country it is spending two billion a year on capital expenditure in the country. ''Our capital expenditure has doubled and now spending two billion dollars a year with an aim to quickly grow our customer base,'' Mr Sarin said.

He said the company was not looking at a out of court settlement for a capital gains tax dispute with the government on its stake purchase in Hutchison Essar.

''There is a process through which the court will go through.

We are happy with that process,'' Mr Sarin said.


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