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News Digest: Essar-Vodafone, Etisalat-RCOM, Aksh Optifibre, NGPay, BSNL-DoT, OnMobile, Airtel, MTNL-Novatium, CBI-BSNL

Essar Explores IPO Of Stake In Vodafone India

The Ruia-controlled Essar Group is considering an initial public offering of its stake in Vodafone Essar, India’s number 3 telco. Rather than sell the entire stake for $5 billion back to Vodafone, Essar might sell to retail investors. It has till May 2011 to sell its shares at an independent valuation. Essar Group’s energy and power businesses recently went public on the London stock exchange. Its other telecom interests are in Africa. Economic Times

Etisalat Could Buy 26% Stake In RCOM, Merge With Cheers

Next month, global telco Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunications Corp) may purchase a 26% stake (1% more than previously reported) in Indian telco Reliance Communications for $3 billion and merge its existing Indian entity Etisalat India (brand name Cheers) with RCOM. Bloomberg

Aksh Optifibre To Set Up Overseas Subsidiary For Triple Play

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BSE-listed Aksh Optifibre which makes fibre optic cables has received board approval to launch a subsidiary outside India that will expand its IPTV, VoIP and triple play business. MyIris

NGPay To Launch Hindi Version

NGPay by JiGraahak Mobility Solutions will soon roll out a Hindi version to push its mall on mobile concept further. PTI

DoT Rejects BSNL’s Request For Lower Licence & Spectrum Charges

PSU BSNL will continue to pay the new higher licence and spectrum rates than its private contemporaries with the Department of Telecom denying its request to double back to older rates. BSNL was not amongst the telcos that filed the petition at TDSAT to lower charges. Business Line

OnMobile To Add More VAS Products, Invest Rs. 30-40 Cr Over The Next Year

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OnMobile is readying products for 3G networks which are expected to roll out this year end by investing Rs. 30-40 crore to add 3G and BWA products to its portfolio. It is also starting operations in North America soon. Zee News Business

Jagbir Singh, CTO, Airtel Resigns

After TV Shriram, Head- network architecture, Bharti Airtel it is Jagbir Singh, the group’s Chief Technical Officer who has resigned. Singh led Bharti’s 2G and 3G networks in Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Channel Islands. Voice&Data

Novatium & MTNL Launch Nova Navigator

By the end of this month, MTNL broadband subscribers (Delhi and Mumbai) will be able to avail of Novatium’s PC-as-a-service desktops. (Release)

Corrupt BSNL Official Caught By CBI

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The Rajasthan head of north telecom region in BSNL, Fateh Singh Meena, has been arrested by the CBI for taking a bribe. Times of India

Bharti Sri Lanka Petitions Against Regulation

The Sri Lankan telecom regulator, reacting to losses due to reduced call rates offered by telcos, announced an industry-wide slab for minimum call rates at two Srilankan rupees that was expected to change the status quo. Bharti Airtel has petitioned the Supreme court, claiming it will make it tougher for new entrants like itself to attract subscribers if it can not offer cheaper rates. Economic Times

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