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Star India calls on cell phone co.

Asian News Corp. division pacts with Airtel

HONG KONG — Star India, part of News Corp.’s Asian entertainment group, has struck a two-year deal with cell phone firm Airtel.

As well as agreeing advertising at inflation-proofed rates, the two have committed to new music promotions and to develop interactive services.

Move is seen as a sign of the increasing competition within the Indian TV sector and the fast-growing power of the country’s cell phone providers. It is estimated that Indian phone companies signed up 8.5 million new subscribers last month.

Next year is expected to see debut of two satellite TV platforms backed by rival congloms — Reliance and Bharti — each with massive phone interests.

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