NEW DELHI : Reliance Communications, India’s second biggest mobile phone services company, will spend $2.5 billion (nearly Rs 11,050 crore) in fiscal 2008 to expand its wireless and broadband networks and launch new Internet-based and direct-to-home television services, its chairman Anil Ambani said.
The company expects to close the fiscal ending March 2007 with an investment of $1.75 billion in capital expansion, Ambani said in a conference call with analysts. Bharti Airtel also plans to invest $2.5 billion in expanding its network next fiscal.
Reliance Communicaitons’ delivery of television services through the Internet and satellite-based direct-to-home distribution will likely start in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, he said.
Ambani said his company was studying the finances and operations of Hutchison Essar, ranked No. 4 in the Indian cellular market, with the intent of a buyout. “The matter will be settled in the next few weeks,” he said. Reliance Communications is one of suitors for a 67% stake that Hong Kong-based Hutchision Telecom International is planning to sell in its Indian unit Hutchison Essar.
Ambani’s company is rivalled by Vodafone Group, the world’s largest cellular company, the London-based Hindujas business family, and Hutchison’s local partner oil-to-steel conglomerate Essar group.
Reliance Communications, which owns 12,000 cellular radio towers, will set up another 20,000 towers in 2007-08 as it strives to “capture the growth opportunity” in the Indian wireless market. Ambani said the company had permission to issue foreign currency convertible bonds and will also explore debt options.