Update: Telecom Tiger reports that Raj Kumar Dhoot, of the Dhoot family, has taken over as CEO of Datacom. According to the report, Dhoot was anyway very involved with the equipment purchase decisions at Videocon, so his taking over as the CEO is just a formality. More here.
Original story (October 15th): Things aren’t going very well for New Telco Datacom: their network isn’t up yet, and there’s been nothing on whether the differences between Videocon and the Nahata family (who own Jumbo Techno Services) have been resolved. Now, Business Standard reports that CEO Ravi Sharma has put in is papers. Sharma had joined Datacom from Alcatel-Lucent, where he was MD for India and the South Asia head.
The last we heard of Datacom, they were reported to be in talks with Etisalat, Turkcell, America Movil and a unamed European co. Etisalat has obviously dropped out – having picked up 45 percent stake in Swan Telecom. Datacom is among the prized targets for acquisition, since it has licenses for services across India, unlike, say, Swan which has licenses for only 13 of the 22 circles. The stakes are higher, and the squabbles greater. Datacom needs to sort out its issues quickly, in order to raise money in time for the 3G auction – unless that gets pushed. More on Datacom’s structure here.
The other thing that we’ve gathered from our discussions with telecom executives, is that the new telcos are going to find it incredibly tough to roll out operations and get customers. They’ve already paid a high price for the license (with startup spectrum included), and the network rollout is going to be a tough task. Existing operators, with their cash reserves, experience and workforce, are also finding it difficult to roll in new cities. We’ll have more on this later.