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Aircel to expand operations in line with IPL - Sathish - 02-25-2009

Aircel, a cellular service provider, is planning to expand into six new telecom circles by mid-April and double its subscriber base to 30 million by end 2009. The company, which launched services in Bangalore on Monday, is now available in 12 circles, including Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir.

Aircel is timing its proposed expansion in time for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the domestic T20 cricket tournament to be held from April 16, 2009. The company is one of the main sponsors for last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and plans to use the M S Dhoni-led team to promote the company nationally.

Gurdeep Singh, chief operating officer, Aircel said, "In the next two months, we plan to launch in Hyderabad, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (east & west), Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra taking the total number of circles to 18. With this, we expect our subscriber base to grow to 30 million from 16 million at present.''

Aircel, which claimed 10 million subscribers across its telecom circles across the country in 2008, has also set up an IPL exclusive short code, SMS, voice and MMS service. The company has tied up with other players in the space to maximise revenues.

Aircel, a 74:26 per cent joint venture of Malaysia's Maxis and Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals, expects to touch revenues of $ 1 billion in 2009, up from the $ 600 million that it registered in 2008.