Idea to buy 75% stake in Escotel

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 27 May 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Idea Cellular, the Birla-Tata-AT&T cellular services giant, is picking up close to 75% stake in Escotel Mobile Communications. The combined entity will be the third largest cellular player in the country, behind Bharti and BSNL, with over 17 lakh customers.

According to a report published in an Indian business daily, Economic Times, Idea has cellular operations in Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. Escotel, a 51:49 joint venture between Escorts and Hong Kong-based First Pacific, provides cellular mobile services in Haryana, UP (West) and Kerala, and is the number-one player in each of these circles. Escotel has plans to launch operations in three new circles — UP (East), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh — over the next eight months.

First Pacific, which holds 49% in Escotel, had announced its decision to exit India two years ago and has been looking for a way out since then. It had not participated in the Escorts group’s subsequent telecom ventures.

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