Posts filed under ‘TATA Teleservices’
Reuters is reporting that Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has withdrawn plans to carry out a share issue to fund investment in Indian cellco Unitech Wireless. Telenor has announced it will instead raise funds for the mobile operator through cash flow and net debt, also revealing that it has signed a USD1.2 billion three-year loan agreement. The company has also proposed that there will be no dividend payout in 2008 or 2009. Commenting on the development a statement from the operator noted, ‘Closing of the Indian transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled…(and) Telenor anticipates that this will take place during the first quarter of 2009.’
In separate but related news, Unitech Wireless is reportedly in talks regarding a tower sharing arrangement with Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Tata Teleservices (TTSL). A tower sharing agreement is one of the preconditions of the Telenor acquisition of a 60% stake in Delhi-based Unitech Wireless.
According to Bloomberg, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has said its USD2.7 billion investment in Indian wireline and mobile operator Tata Teleservices (TTSL) will be completed by March 2009. NTT has said that the acquisition of a 26% stake in TTSL has been held up as it awaits approval from local authorities. This is the second delay to the purchase, after it was initially deferred to 8 January by the Japanese cellco, due to the Securities and Exchange Board of India having not approved the transaction.
India’s Tata Communications has increased its stake in South Africa’s second national operator (SNO) Neotel by 30%, acquiring shares from government-backed entities Eskom and Transnet. Tata Communications and its local operating arm Tata Africa Holdings now have a majority shareholding in the SNO. ‘We will support Neotel’s efforts to provide global quality telecom services in South Africa,’ said N. Srinath, the managing director and CEO of Tata Communications. Ajay Pandey, MD and CEO of Neotel, commented: ‘This transaction further allows Neotel to leverage on Tata Communications’ proven and vast global network of tried and tested technologies in countries such as India with similar telecoms landscape to South Africa.’
Separately, South African cellular operator Vodacom is reportedly lining up to participate in a ZAR2 billion (USD197 million) 5,000km national fibre-optic cable project involving Neotel and rival mobile firm MTN which was announced last week. Vodacom is thought likely to join the partnership once fixed line operator Telkom has divested its 50% stake. One source close to the deal told local newspaper Business Day: ‘Vodacom will join in the collaboration. It can’t at the moment because it has Telkom as a shareholder, but they are going through the divorce.’ Vodacom had been planning to deploy its own national fibre network, but joining with Neotel and MTN will offer significant savings on rollout costs.
Indian fixed line and broadband operator Tata Communications (formerly VSNL) is planning to raise up to INR30 billion (USD605 million) through a combination of debt financing and a rights issue. According to local news sources the operator has approached the Indian government, which holds a 26% stake in the company, regarding the rights issue, which is expected to raise up to INR10 billion. The operator has been attempting to raise equity since early 2008, although the state has not approved any of the company’s previous proposals. It is understood that Tata Communications will use the funds raised to pursue acquisitions in both the US and the UK as part of its submarine cable projects. Additionally, Tata is expected to bid for Indian WiMAX spectrum when it is finally auctioned in the first half of 2009.
Tata Teleservices Ltd. is all set to go for a domestic GSM launch by the end of January. TTSL said that new entrants to India’s already crowded GSM market will likely face challenges in gaining subscribers and market share. Tata’s Managing Director, Anil Sardana, said, the company is a long term player in a market which is adding more than 8 million users a month.
Tata Teleservices plans to use part of the funds raised from the sale of a 49% stake in its tower arm for its GSM operations, in which the company intends to invest about $2 billion, added Sardana.
“All equipment has been ordered for all circles. Transmission is ready for all circles. Orders have been placed with NSN (Nokia Siemens Networks), Huawei (Technologies Co.) and ZTE (Corp.), for core telecom equipment, and NEC (Corp) for transmission,” Sardana further said.
Working towards meeting the June 2009 deadline, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will shortly issue clarifications to the bidders on the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) norms, after which it will start accepting applications from the prospective firms to act as agencies for porting numbers.
The government has already held the pre-bid conference last month and is about to issue queries of the operators on the same. The bids are scheduled to be opened on February 5, said an official. The prospective bidders will act as clearing houses and database for the MNP system.
The implementation roadmap for MNP is for metros and category A circles by the middle of 2009 and in the entire country by the end of 2009.
The DoT is also likely to take a decision shortly if it is in the ambit of existing norms to allow users to shift between GSM and CDMA services of the same operator before the full-fledged MNP starts between two operators.
The intra-operator MNP is possible with two operators in the Indian context — Reliance Communications and the Tatas. While RCom has announced its pan-India GSM services recently, Tatas do have spectrum for GSM service but are yet to start the service.
Reliance Communications Ltd., India’s second-largest mobile-phone company, started nationwide wireless services based on the global system for mobile communications, or GSM, to gain customers.
Reliance Communications, which operates services based on the code division multiple access, or CDMA, standard, will initially cover 11,000 towns and 340,000 villages with its GSM service, Chairman Anil Ambani told reporters in Mumbai today. The operator has completed most of the capital spending on the second network and has spent 100 billion rupees ($2.1 billion), he said.
Ambani will use the network based on the popular GSM standard, which accounts for about 75 percent of India’s 336 million wireless users, to help Reliance Communications catch up with Bharti Airtel Ltd. and keep ahead of rivals such as Vodafone Group Plc and NTT DoCoMo Inc.
“We see no reason why we shouldn’t have a 100 million customers,” Ambani said. The operator had almost 60 million customers at the end of November, while Bharti had 83 million and Vodafone’s Indian unit had almost 59 million users.
Reliance Communications gained 7.2 percent to 228.15 rupees in Mumbai trading, the most since Dec. 10. The stock was the second-best performer today on the benchmark Sensitive Index, which rose 1.9 percent.
India, the world’s second-largest mobile-phone services market after China, added more than 10 million subscribers for the third straight month in November and is set to attract more operators as it prepares to auction licenses for starting high- speed wireless services next year.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman Nripendra Misra said in October, operators in the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy and Australia may bid for permits to offer the so-called third-generation, or 3G, services, further increasing competition.
Reliance may spend between 20 billion rupees and 40 billion rupees on 3G gear, Ambani said.
DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile-phone operator, considers Asia its biggest priority for expansion, President Ryuji Yamada said on Nov. 18, a week after the company agreed to pay $2.7 billion for 26 percent of India’s Tata Teleservices Ltd. The purchase is aimed at giving the Tokyo-based company entry into the world’s fastest-growing major wireless market and is its largest acquisition in about eight years.
Tata Teleservices will spend $2 billion in the next two years to provide GSM-based wireless services, the Press Trust of India reported in August. Tata Teleservices, which currently offers CDMA mobile-phone services plans to start the GSM services by the end of the year in India, Press Trust said at the time, citing Anil Sardana, the company’s managing director.