IFC to help increase affordable mobile phone services in India

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will help expand the availability of affordable mobile telephone services in India.

IFC’s $100 million loan will help strengthen Idea Cellular Limited network in its existing markets and enable the extension of services to Bihar, one of the few states in India without a well-developed telecommunications network. The loan will also help establish a national long-distance network to meet growing demand for services.

Mohsen A. Khalil, IFC Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies, said, “Improving communications infrastructure creates opportunities for many people and businesses in India, particularly in underserved areas such as Bihar. IFC is pleased to support India’s private sector in advancing the government’s goal of doubling mobile penetration by 2010.”

The IFC investment will promote competition in the sector and expand the availability and affordability of services for consumers. It is also expected to help increase telephone penetration in Bihar from less than 8 percent in 2008 to more than 20 percent by 2012.

IFC and Idea are developing a project that will establish Pocket Public Calling Offices to deliver mobile phone-based communications and other value-added services to underserved rural communities and the urban unconnected poor in India.

(This is press release of IFC)

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