Bharti Airtel's chief executive officer, Manoj Kohli

Bharti Airtel, fresh from acquiring Zain’ s African operations, will pump USD600 million into Nigeria in the next three years and create a 1 000-seat call centre there within 18 months.

Bharti aims to have 100 million subscribers and USD5 billion a year in revenue from Africa by 2012/13. Bharti Airtel's chief executive officer, Manoj Kohli, said the Nigerian market is the biggest in Africa. He said rural areas would be given priority under the expansion plan.

Nigeria is a competition hotspot, with around 150 million citizens and around 76 million mobile phone subscribers.

MTN Nigeria is also readying itself for competition in Nigeria, having recently announced that it had signed USD2.15 billion in loan agreements to fund expansion there.

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