Singapore Telecom has agreed to pay $1.8 billion for a stake in Thailand's Intouch Holdings Plc and India's Bharti Telecom Ltd, broadening its access to the fast-growing wireless markets in Asia and Africa.

SingTel, which is considered to be Southeast Asia’s biggest telecom group by revenue, will buy 21% holdings of Intouch in addition to the 7.39% shares it will acquire in Bharti Telecom from Singapore-owned investment firm Temasek, multiple media outlets reported.

In a statement, Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong called the acquisition "a unique opportunity… to deepen our relationships with two great market leaders."

Intouch is the largest shareholder in Thailand’s top mobile operator Advanced Info Services (AIS), while Bharti Telecom Limited is the holding company of India's largest telecommunications company, Bharti Airtel. Together, the two operators have a mobile customer base of more than 380 people across Asia and Africa.

Aside from Thailand and India, Singtel also has stakes in mobile operators in the Philippines and Indonesia, and operates a wholly owned subsidiary in Australia.

The Singapore-based telecommunications company has also expressed interest in partnering with Vietnamese telecom giant MobiFone.

According to Thanh Nien News, SingTel's VP for Business Development Oliver Foo met with Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Hong Hai last week to discuss the possibility of SingTel becoming a strategic partner with the Vietnam-owned company.