NEWBURY, UK: Telco Vodafone is expected to enter into a bidding war for India's Hutchison Essar, the sub-continent's fourth biggest cellphone operator, as it looks to boost slowing growth in its European markets.

Vodafone, which is understood to have agreed to pursue a bid of more than £6.8 billion ($13.5bn; €10.2bn), is likely to face stiff competition from Reliance Communications, India's number two cellphone group, which is partnered with US private equity firm Blackstone Group.

India is the world's fastest-growing wireless market where just 17% of its 1.1 billion people have either a mobile or a fixed-line phone, according to the country's phone regulator.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff