AT&T and Telstra wish to re-enter 3G-India

by khalid on 07/10/2009 · 0 comments

ATNT AND TELSTRA

The two telecom giants of world, USA’s AT&T and Australia’s Telstra, left the 2G-India five year back, now interested to re-enter 3G-India. Earlier AT&T exited the three-way venture it had with the Tata and AV Birla groups. Similarly Australia s Telstra, had exited from its 49% stake in Modi Telstra in 2000.

Department of telecommunications (DoT), the administrative ministry, told FE that AT&T and Testra has shown a firm interest in bidding in the 3G spectrum auctions which is expected to be conducted this fiscal.

In a way, AT&T’s attempt at re-entering the Indian market tells an interesting story of the emergence of India as the fastest growing telecom market globally in the last few years. AT&T had quit India in 2005 after selling its 33% stake in Idea Cellular, following its merger with Cingular Wireless globally. At that time it received around $250 million for its stake. Today, the stake would have been valued at over $3 billion. Now, a pan-India licence would cost AT&T Rs 1651 crore. Add a reserve price for all-India auctions at Rs 3500 crore, which if successful, could go up to around Rs 8000 crore. ATandT already has an international and domestic long distance licence in India. Telstra, sources said, would bid only for the BWA spectrum for broadband services.

The 3G and BWA auctions are open to both existing licensees and foreign operators who have experience in running 3G networks. At present Vodafone has 33% stake in Vodafone-Essar, Malaysia s Maxis is present in the country through its 74% stake in Aircel, Telekom Malaysia has over 15% in Idea Cellular. SingTel has around 30% stake in Bharti Airtel, Norway s Telenor has acquired 67.25% stake in a new licensee Unitech Wireless while UAE s Etisalat has 45% stake in Etisalat DB. Both these companies are scheduled to start their operations later this year. Sources said that these two companies would bid selectively for some circle for 3G/BWA services.

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