MUMBAI: British telecoms company BT Group Plc will launch its voice and data services in India in six weeks and is confident of beating its $250-million revenue target there by 2009, a top executive said on Wednesday.
“The market is growing 18% a year, and may rise to 25% or even more. Multinational corporations are setting up multi-site operations in India,” C.S. Rao, head of BT’s Indian unit, told Reuters in an interview.
He said BT, the UK’s largest fixed-line operator, is targetting a different part of the market to Vodafone Group Plc, which agreed this month to pay $11.1 billion for a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth-largest mobile services provider.
And Rao said BT was confident it has the edge in India over rivals such as AT&T Inc. and Cable and Wireless after BT announced it had obtained international and domestic long-distance service licences.
“The licences gives us the flexibility to launch our unique network architecture. Almost every operator in the world is emulating BT in this architecture,” he said.
BT Telecom India Pvt. Ltd., in which local partner Jubilant Enpro holds 26%, will launch its voice, data, conferencing and other services in one city, which Rao declined to name, in six weeks and expand them to several cities by June.
It is seeking to cater for the specialised needs of banks such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank and State Bank of India, software firms such as Infosys Technologies, and top drug makers in the rapidly expanding market, Rao said.
“All these companies want convergence right now. They have voice services, data services, video services and Web-based conference services. They need instant messaging. They want it all happening concurrently.”
He said rapid growth in the local operations of multinational firms would help BT exceed its revenue target of $250 million in 2009.
“We are very confident. The market is growing significantly,” he said.
India is home to the world’s fastest growing wireless services market and has substantially cut market entry fees to inject competition in domestic and international calls.
BT plans to hire 6,000 people in India over two years, roughly doubling current staff levels. Earlier this month BT agreed to buy i2i Enterprises Pvt Ltd, an Indian Internet communications services company.
Last year AT&T became the first foreign carrier to secure a licence for domestic long-distance and international services in India under a revised policy that allows foreigners to own up to 74% of their Indian units.