With telecom booming in India, major global telecom companies are exploring avenues to enter this rapidly expanding market. One such giant is Asian communications provider SingTel (News - Alert) Group. Headquartered in Singapore, SingTel provides a wide spectrum of multimedia and infocommunications technology (ICT) solutions, including voice, data and video services over fixed and wireless platforms to customers in Singapore and Australia.
Now this Asian giant is eyeing India, according to a report in South India’s leading newspaper The Hindu. As per the report, SingTel Group has initiated talks to buy the stake held by Bharti Group in its international long-distance telephony venture. Bharti owns about a 9.9 percent stake in this venture, which offers communication services to multinational companies in India. In fact, this is not the first move by SingTel in India. The Asian giant already holds over a 32 percent share in the country's leading telco Bharti Airtel (News - Alert).
SingTel is not alone in this quest, however. There are a few other foreign telecom companies also interested in grabbing the Indian telecom market share. According to this report, Vodafone (News - Alert) is also planning to invest in Bharti’s international long-distance telephony venture. However, full details were unavailable.
The Hindu report indicates that the rising investment by foreign companies in the telecom sector is the result of a recent decision by the Government of India to permit 100 percent foreign direct investment in the telecom sector.
As per the report, the Bharti international venture was set-up in 2007 after the Department of Telecom made it mandatory for companies to obtain a separate license for offering services such as virtual private networks and leased lines. Bharti was pulled into the venture by SingTel’s Australian subsidiary, who wanted to offer international connectivity to its corporate clients in India in competition with international carriers likes AT&T, British Telecom and France Telecom (News - Alert) subsidiary Orange Business Solutions.
With 100 percent FDI allowed, SingTel is now planning to operate the business on its own. Sources close to the development told the newspaper reporter Thomas K. Thomas that the “talks are in advanced stages and SingTel will soon approach the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for approval.”
Edited by Blaise McNamee