Asian wireless cos setting up in India

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Malaysian and South Korean telecom players are targeting India's booming wireless market. Malaysia's largest telecom operator, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, has reportedly acquired 49 percent of the equity in Spice Telecom, a regional wireless provider. Telekom Malaysia had earlier tried unsuccessfully to enter the Indian wireless market but was thwarted by regulators.

According to a media report, the chairman of Spice Communications' holding company confirmed that Telekom Malaysia bought out other equity holders. He declined to disclose the size of the deal.

Separately, Samsung Electronics recently disclosed that it is opening a mobile phone plant in India with an annual production capacity of 1 million handsets. The company added that its first Indian mobile phone plant, located in Gurgaon in the state of Haryana, would steadily expand capacity.

India's mobile phone market reached 27 million units last year and is expected to reach 40 million in 2006. The penetration rate for GSM mobile phones in India is only 6 percent of the population, according to Samsung. In addition, Nokia, India's top mobile phone supplier, announced plans last year to set up a manufacturing facility here.

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