India’s Videocon applies for telecoms licences

India’s Videocon applies for telecoms licences


Mumbai: India’s diversified Videocon Group has applied for licences to provide telecom services in the world’s fastest growing cellular market, and aims to partner a US firm, according to its chairman.

“By 2015, people say, India will have 800 million subscribers and they will need all kinds of services," Venugopal Dhoot told Reuters.

He said the power to home appliances group, which controls Videocon Industries Ltd already making mobile phone sets and telecom services would bring in synergies.

The group has applied licences for 22 of India’s 23 telecoms zones or circles, except the north-eastern region, he said.

Asked why the group was interested in a competitive and high capital expenditure business, Dhoot said: “I think capex will be minimal as towers are available on lease and rental basis. What we require is marketing ability. I think Videocon has that."

Dhoot declined to identify the US partner but confirmed it was anAmerican company. He added that India had been adding about 8 million mobile users every month, and analysts had forecast the total to reach 500 million subscribers in five years from 200 million now. He also ascribed the huge growth potential to foreign firms.

Vodafone Group Plc the world’s second-biggest mobile firm, earlier this year paid $11.1 billion for a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, since renamed Vodafone Essar, from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International.

Russian services conglomerate Sistema also said that it aimed to raise its holding in tiny Indian telecoms operator Shyam Telelink Ltd to 51% after it bought a 10% stake for $11.4 million.

The robust growth potential has led to a spate of new applications for licences, including from real estate firms Unitech and Parsvnath Developers and the government has said it would not receive any more after 1 October.