According to South African website Business Day Live, India’s Bharti Airtel is said to be looking at acquiring one of South Africa’s two smaller mobile operators, Cell C or Telkom Mobile (8ta). A source close to the Indian telecoms giant – which acquired 15 companies comprising Zain Africa in June 2010 – told Business Day that a new play was being made after the failure of Bharti’s 2009 bid for MTN. TeleGeography notes that 8ta, which is owned by cash-strapped state-backed firm Telkom South Africa, remains the most likely acquisition target. The cellco, which launched in October 2010, had amassed just 1.495 million subscribers by end-September 2012. With question marks over its long-term viability pushed to the fore in recent months, 8ta has been strongly linked to a merger with the well-established Cell C.
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