The Indian telecom market is luring international telecom conglomerates to it as honey would bees – after Norwegian telco Telenor upped its stake to 67.25 percent in Uninor, and Russia’s Sistema holds 73.71 percent in CDMA operator MTS, it is now the UAE-based Etisalat that is looking to gain majority stake in Etisalat DB Telecom India.
Etisalat has filed an application with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board of India (FIPB) to increase its stake in its joint venture in India, reports The National. Any foreign investment above 49 percent in the telecom segment in India needs to be cleared by the FIPB.
Etisalat is expected to buy the additional stake of 5.27 percent for Rs 3.8 billion from Chennai-based Genex Exim Venture. Currently, Etisalat DB Telecom India is a joint venture with the Dynamix Balwas Group.
Asia Interest, Indian Plans
Etisalat also has regional investments in Pakistan Telecom Company (PTCL), Etisalat Afghanistan and in Indonesia through a 16% stake in telco Axiata. Other international investments include: Canar Sudan, Thuraya, Etisalat Misr in Egypt, Zantel in Tanzania, Atlantique Telecom, Millicom Sri Lanka or TIGO and Etihad Etisalat or Mobily in Saudi Arabia.
In 2008, Etisalat picked up a 45 percent stake in Swan Telecom for $900 million and June 2009 the JV was renamed Etisalat DB. The JV has license for 13 telecom circles in India – Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Uttar Pradesh (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West).
The telco has plans to launch services across India this March. It has registered its online presence at Etisalat.in through domain name registrar Net 4 India and it is headquartered at Mumbai.
Etisalat DB Timeline
September 2008: Etisalat acquires 45 percent in Swan Telecom for 900 $million
June 2009: Swan Telecom annouces that it has been renamed Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt Ltd
July 2009: Etisalat signs Rs 10,000 crore tower sharing deal with Reliance Communications
September 2009: Pankaj Sharma joins Etisalat DB from Spice Digital as Regional Commercial Officer
September 2009:Etisalat DB signs letter of intent with Tech Mahindra to manage its IT applications and infrastructure requirements
October 2009: The merger of Etisalat DB and Allianz Infratech gets rejected by DoT