New Delhi: British telecom services firm Cable and Wireless Plc. plans to establish an optic fibre network of its own in India after the Union government gave it approval for offering national and international long-distance telephony services in the country.
Cable and Wireless will compete with other global telecom firms such as BT Group Plc. and AT&T Inc., that, too, are offering similar services in India.
“India accounts for a bulk of around 25% revenues contributed by the Asian markets to our global revenues,” said Jim Marsh, chief executive officer of Europe, Asia and US markets for Cable and Wireless. “We are establishing a core backbone within three to four months, which will connect the four metros apart from Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata.”
The company, which serves enterprises such as the State Bank of India, or SBI, India’s biggest bank by assets, has already joined hands with the TTK Group for offering connectivity solutions to Indian enterprises.
“Growing at over 30% annually, India is our fastest growing market, and has recently been recognized as a region by the Cable and Wireless leadership,” said Sunanda Das, the firm’s managing director for India and South Asia. Das added that the company’s India operations serves around 120 customers currently, but declined to name them.
According to audit and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Indian enterprise market for telecom services is expected to reach $6 billion (Rs24,060 crore) by 2010, primarily driven by demand for connectivity solutions from software and back-office services companies such as Infosys Technologies Ltd, Wipro Ltd and Genpact Ltd.
After the first phase of laying a national cable backbone, Cable and Wireless will seek to partner with another company for expanding its network to other towns in the country. “We would continue to focus on building a fixed-line network, and may look at wireless solutions as a temporary measure,” said Marsh.
Even though Cable and Wireless received a licence to offer long-distance phone services in India much after rivals BT and AT&T, the company expects to grow its revenues from the country.
“Unlike our competitors, we will not look at small and medium enterprises, and continue to serve large customers,” added Marsh.
Analysts such as Usha Rajeev, who heads the information technology and communications practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said Cable and Wireless, though behind BT and AT&T to the Indian market, had not missed the growth in the Indian market for business telecom services. “The telecom enterprise business has just started taking off in India,” she said.
“Cable and Wireless is a company with long history and has years-old customers who would be happy to work with then in India,” Rajeev added. Cable and Wireless counts Cisco Systems Inc., Aviva Plc., Vodafone Group Plc., DHL Worldwide Express Inc. and Woolworths Ltd among its customers.