The Malawi unit of Bharti Airtel rolled out its 3G network on Thursday, as part of the Indian telecom firm's push to expand in fast-growing Africa. Bharti now owns mobile operators in 15 African countries, following a $9 billion deal with Kuwait's Zain this year, and has ramped up spending across the continent to challenge dominant player MTN Group.

The Bharti unit, Zain Malawi, is the biggest mobile phone operator in the southern African nation. Bharti says it plans to spend $100 million in the next three years on network expansion in the country. It has also outlined plans for expansion in Uganda, Nigeria and other countries. The 3G, or third-generation, mobile phone standard allows for high-speed Internet access and video transmission.

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