Indian telecom cos. look abroad

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Faced with a heavy competition in the cellular market and lure of growth in other countries, state owned telecom companies MTNL and BSNL are looking at setting operations abroad.

While the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), with operations in Mumbai and New Delhi is looking at offering telecom services in Sri Lanka, Africa and SAARC countries another state owned company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is looking at Sri Lanka.

MTNL has sent a team to Sri Lanka to identify the potential in the country even as it is all set to begin data and basic telephone operations there. A company official said MTNL is ready to either join a consortium of local companies or set up independent operations by investing about $300 million.

If MTNL gets in to Sri Lanka, it will be third country for the company. The other two being Nepal, where it is offering mobile telephony and Mauritius.

India’s largest integrated telecom company BSNL too has decided to test waters abroad. It is laying a under sea cable between India and Sri Lanka after which the company might look at starting telecom operations.

BSNL is also looking at penetrating the South African and Pakistan market as both these markets have opened up recently.

Two other Indian companies Bharti Enterprises and Tata group owned VSNL already provide telecom services. While Bharti started operations Seychelles in 1997, VSNL has been permitted as the second operator in South Africa.

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