Sunday, October 30, 2005

Vodafone's Indian dreams

Speculation is rife that Arun Sarin (the Indian-American CEO of Vodafone Global) is not going to be content with the 10% equity Vodafone has in Bharti - just a matter of time before VF snags Singtel's ownership stake as well. It adopted a similar strategy in Japan and telecom insiders in India will not be surprised if the same act plays out in India as well.

Bharti's stock should see a upside when this happens. Should also provide an opportunity to vendors other than Ericsson to play a role in Vodafone Globals' network transformation strategy when Vodafone ends up owning majority stake in Bharti.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

BSNL threatens Huawei

Lightreading is reporting that BSNL has threatened Huawei that the latter may be excluded from all future contracts - fixed and wireless - because of its non-delivery of CDMA2000 systems. Huawei has alleged that HFCL - it local OEM partner is to blame for the non-delivery while HFCL (which does not have the best reputation in India) is pointing fingers at Huawei.

Huawei just announced setting up of a manufacturing plant in Bangalore to manufacture 3G equipment, fixed wireless terminals etc. in an attempt to adhere to local manufacturing requirements laid down by Mr. Maran. In spite of that, Huawei is getting into a lot of problems recently with BSNL - India's PTT - and the reasons behind the recent events are not clear. Sources allege that Huawei wants to bid direct (HFCL is just a middleman here adding no value) but for obvious reasons, the BSNL honchos do not like the direct approach. Come on, guys, they have to eat too!

Vodafone comes to India (finally)

Vodafone has finally decided to invest in an Indian mobile company. Vodafone Group, the world's biggest mobile phone company, has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Indian firm Bharti Tele-Ventures for $1.5bn. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone will buy 4.4% from Bharti Enterprises and 5.6% from investment firm Warburg Pincus.

India has more than 66 million mobile subscibers and the market is expanding by 2.5 million users a month. Bharti had more than 14 million mobile phone users at the end of September. Can we expect Bharti to introduce cool mobile services available in the other Vodafone OpCos? Remains to be seen if VF will take an operating role in BTV.

Sachin, Shah Rukh in Vodafone spots, anyone :-)

Monday, October 24, 2005

What exactly is Reliance doing with FLAG?

Remember, a while back when RIL was still under Mukesh, it acquired FLAG Telecom for $210 million. What exactly is it doing with FLAG? At that time, there were these supposed synergies and how Reliance Telecom (which acquired a license to offer telecommunication services in the US) will fill those empty undersea submarine pipes with a lot of traffic. Things have changed since - a family squabble, a new CEO - but the pipes are still empty!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Maran wants telecom suppliers to BSNL and MTNL to manufacture in India

India's two large telecommunications services companies, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL), have decided to require their suppliers to manufacture equipment directly in India or through contract manufacturers in the country, according to the country's minister for information technology and communications, Dayanidhi Maran.

The two companies made the decision to ensure quality, timely delivery, and good after-sales service, Maran said at the annual conference of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India. The government also plans to request that private sector operators in the country adopt a similar purchase policy, Maran said. The full story is here.

According to a story in Lightreading,
the issue of foreign vendors supplying the Indian market has come to the fore with various reports that the government there is uneasy about Chinese vendor Huawei's expansion plans in the country. Looks like Desh Deshpande is having his way with Maran that benefits his company,Tejas Networks.

Ratanji finally takes over TATA Telecom

VSNL (owned by TATA) is one of the world's largest multinational providers of voice, Internet, and bandwidth services when it acquired Tyco's undersea submarine network and Teleglobe (which is by the way, the world's largest VoIP provider).

Hardly a surprise that Ratanji is not happy about the progress that TATA Telecom has made in the telecom business, especially the mobile segment. Read more here ...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Finally, FDI in Telecom is raised ....

India finally paved the way for more investment in the telecom sector after the union cabinet cleared the proposal to hike the foreign direct investment limit in the telecom sector to 74 percent.

The government has however attached certain riders like barring Indian telecom companies from allowing remote access for repair and maintenance and appointing expatriates at key positions.