With a license to offer mobile telephony services across India, new telco Datacom is a prime target for foreign investment. Despite the issues between Datacom owners – Videocon and the Nahata family – over management of the company, and how much each partner will invest, four telecom companies are looking to acquire a 51 percent stake in the company, reports the Times of India. The four: Etisalat, Turkcell, America Movil and a unamed European co. Earlier reports had mentioned AT&T as well. Mexican Telecom billionaire Carlos Slim owns America Movil.
ET reports that the foreign telcos want Datacom, but without Videocon and Jumbo Techno Services (Mahendra Nahata’s company), and instead bring in an Indian JV partner, who will own 26 percent stake, while the foreign entity will own the allowed 74 percent stake. Details on how Videocon got involved with Datacom here.
Frankly, while the Nahata’s might exit, it would be surprising to see majority shareholder (64 percent) Videocon sell out so soon. The real question is – will Datacom roll out services without a foreign partner? As per this report in Rediff, Datacom would require “$3 billion for a rollout over the next 3 years, to cover 50 million subscribers”, as per CEO Ravi Sharma. They’ve already hired a top management – details here – and expect to hire 800 by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the new telecom operators can expect spectrum to be allocated in four more circles – Maharashtra, Mumbai, Kolkata and Madhya Pradesh. They’ve already received spectrum for Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.