MTNL readies 500 cr for overseas operations

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 16 August 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: In the current financial year, the state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam has readied a war chest of Rs 500 crore for international operations, including acquisitions and bidding for new licences in developing countries, reported Business Line.

The investment will also be used to set up its international long distance telephony infrastructure, including an undersea cable project with Bharat Sanchar Nigam. As per the Government sources, MTNL could also be eyeing acquisitions in the domestic market in which case the investment fund could be increased.

The move is part of MTNL's strategy to move beyond Delhi and Mumbai. The company has not been allowed by the Government to set up services in any other parts of the country, which puts it at a disadvantage compared with other telecom majors such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Reliance Communications.

MTNL gets only a few lakh new subscribers from the highly saturated markets of Delhi and Mumbai while other private operators are adding over one million subscribers a month across the country.

As the company's profits have been dipping in recent years, the company is now looking to expand its footprint outside the national boundaries. As a part of this move, the company has already entered Mauritius and Nepal and is now looking at other developing countries in Africa and Asia. MTNL had recently bid for licences in Kenya and Saudi Arabia.

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