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Qualcomm Allowed To Invest Rs. 796.9 Crore In Indian BWA Biz; AETN18 Approved, Others Wait

India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has finally given the approval for Qualcomm to invest in its Indian Broadband Wireless Access venture. According to an FIPB update from the Indian government, Qualcomm can invest up to Rs. 796.9 Crore in the business. The approval will allow Qualcomm to proceed with its plans to roll out Broadband Wireless Access services in four key circles in India, in partnership with telecom operators.

Last year, Qualcomm, Ericsson & Reliance Industries had demonstrated LTE-TDD In India, but speculation has been rife about Qualcomm’s plans to exit the business altogether. Qualcomm had brought in two Indian companies – Tulip Telecom and Global Holdings – into the venture, since it needed an Indian partner: foreign entites are allowed to own a maximum of 26% in telecom ventures in India.

Qualcomm has won spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai, alongwith Kerala and Haryana, for the cost of Rs. 4912.54 crore for spectrum in four circles. Mumbai is its most expensive acquisition at Rs.  2292.95 crore

View the Broadband Wireless Access spectrum auction results here.

AETN18 Investment Approved

In the media sector, A&E Television Networks, LLC, New York, USA has received an approval to subscribe to the equity shares of an Indian company engaged in up-linking and down-linking of Non-News and Current Affairs Channels in India, with an investment of Rs. 22.5 crore approved. Last year, Network18 and AETN had announced the formation of a 49:51 joint venture – AETN18 – which plans to launch HISTORY, BIO, Crime & Investigation Network and other popular AETN entertainment channels in the Indian market. Ajay Chacko was appointed President of AETN18 Media.

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Deferred Decisions

– Augere Wireless Broadband, another entity which won Broadband Wireless Access spectrum in Madhya Pradesh for Rs. 124.66 crore, had sought to increase foreign equity from 49% to 74%. The decision on this proposal has been deferred.

– Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd had sought to raise money by way of fresh allotment of shares by private placement, upto the limit of 20% of the total paid up capital of the company. Earlier last month, The Economic Times had reported that RBNL plans to raise 5% stake to Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Global.

– Netmagic Solutions, a managed IT services provider specializing in Internet Data Centers, Managed Hosting, Managed Security, Cloud Computing, Application Hosting etc, had sought to increase foreign equity from 49% to 74%, to carry out the business of an ISP with gateways. The decision on this proposal has been deferred.

– A decision on the proposal of Essar Capital Holdings (India) Ltd to acquire acquisition of equity shares “an investing company engaged in the telecom sector” has also been deferred.

– The approval for Bangladesh based Mango Holding Limited, which sought to subscribe to equity shares of an Indian company which manufactures and supplies Wireless Equipment by a company from Bangladesh, has been deferred.


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Interestingly, the proposal from B4U Television Network (India) for induction of foreign equity for the business of up-linking a non-news and current affairs TV channel, has been rejected.

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