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AT&T seeks slice of Indian market

02 октября 2007

AT&T, the world’s largest telecoms group, is seeking a licence to offer mobile services in India. The US group, in partnership with India’s Mahindra Telecommunications, joins companies vying for a slice of the world’s fastest-growing mobile market of more than 200m subscribers.

AT&T’s bid to enter India’s mobile market represents the boldest international move to date by the US carrier, which has historically focused on the domestic US market. AT&T, which completed a US acquisition spree with the purchase of Bell South at the start of this year, has also applied for a mobile licence in Qatar.
The latest move follows a successful application by AT&T and Mahindra last year for a licence to provide fixed-line national and international service in India. While the current application is for a 2G mobile licence, AT&T said on Monday that, if successful, it plans to apply for a licence to offer more advanced 3G services.
Randall Stephenson, chief executive, signalled AT&T’s interest in overseas expansion when he took over his current role this year identifying the Indian, Asian and Middle East markets as of particular interest.
Mr Stephenson visited India this summer.
India’s Department of Telecommunications had set Monday as the deadline for mobile licence applications.
At least 100 companies are believed to be interested, including India’s largest real estate groups DLF and Unitech; IT and media company Hinduja TMT; and Indian electronics group Videocon.
Foreign telecoms groups have been accelerating their investments after the Indian government raised the cap on foreign direct investment in telecoms operators from 49 per cent to 74 per cent.
That cleared the way for Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile group by revenue, to buy control of Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth-largest mobile operator, for $10.9bn in a keenly-contested battle earlier this year.

Источник: Financial Times

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