Mumbai: Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile carrier, has received financing commitments of up to $2.5 billion from top Chinese banks as it tries to invest in the growth of data networks across its global operations.
Bharti Airtel, which operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, said on Saturday that China Development Bank had committed a $2 billion credit line, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has offered a $500 million credit line.
The company signed the term sheets for the financing options in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on an official visit to China.
The transaction needs approvals, including from the Reserve Bank of India, it said in a statement.
With a majority of the country still using more basic "feature phones", India's smartphone market is expected to grow at about 36 per cent a year over the next five years, according to consulting firm Zinnov, making the higher margin mobile data business a potentially lucrative bet for network operators.
© Thomson Reuters 2015