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Bharti Airtel confident on 3G timeline: CEO
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Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile phone operator, said it is confident the country will proceed on schedule with 3G spectrum auctions
in January, with high hopes for the technology in the competitive market.

India held a pre-bidding conference on Monday in the run-up to third-generation (3G) spectrum auctions that have been twice delayed but are now scheduled to take place on January 14.

"It went well. Our confidence is high," Bharti Chief Executive Manoj Kohli told Reuters in an interview in Hong Kong, commenting on the Monday conference.

"If everything goes well, within a few weeks of the auction we should get some spectrum." India is the world's fastest-growing major mobile market, but it is also becoming increasingly competitive as existing players cut rates to attract subscribers before four new companies start operation this year.

Bharti expected the current state of stiff competition to continue into 2010, as the government worked on new rules that may allow faster consolidation, Kohli said. "This intensive hyper-competitive market is a short-term phenomenon, maybe two to three quarters," he said.

"Consolidation, I think, will be expedited by the hyper-competitive situation in the market."

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