Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator, is expected to formally announce the IPO of its towers arm Bharti Infratel this week, reports the country’s Economic Times newspaper.

The sale is expected to raise INR5,000 crore (US$900 million), which would reportedly make it India’s largest share flotation for two years – and the first from the Bharti Group for a decade.

"The bankers are expected to file the prospectus early this week, and the company aims to open the issue by end of November or early December," said an unnamed senior executive.

Bharti Infratel owns 33,660 mobile phone towers and also a 42 percent stake in Indus Towers, a JV with other Indian operators considered to be the largest towers company in the world.

The proposed IPO comprises of a fresh issue of 142 million shares by Bharti Infratel and a secondary sale of 46 million shares by four private equity firms. The sale will lead to a 10 percent equity dilution.

According to the report, the Bharti Group has been exploring several fund-raising options in recent times. It had considered the possibility of issuing new shares of Bharti Airtel, which has a US$12.7-billion debt, to the public or institutional investors, as well as a bond issue for the listed operator.