labels: telecom, videocon
Videocon seeks mobile phone licences for 22 of the 23 telecom circles news
27 September 2007

Mumbai: Consumer durables major Videocon Industries has applied for telecom licences for providing mobile phone services nationwide, except for the north-east.

The group is seeking licences for 22 of the country''s 23 telecom circles, except the north-eastern region.

"We have applied for mobile licences in all 22 circles," Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot said.

Videocon is planning to partner a US firm for services roll-out. "We are in talks with a global company for partnership in our telecom venture... Videocon would be a majority partner in it," Dhoot said.

He declined to identify the US partner but newspaper reports said it may be Verizon Communications, which already has a joint-venture for international long distance telecom business with Videocon.

Videocon Industries is already in the business of making mobile phone sets and telecom services would bring in synergies, Dhoot said.

Corporate houses are rushing to seek telecom licences in India''s buoyant market which is adding about 8 million mobile users every month. Analysts expect mobile phone subscriber base in the country to reach 500 million in five years from the current 200 million.

The huge growth potential has lured foreign firms. Vodafone Group Plc, the world''s second-biggest mobile firm, earlier this year paid $11.1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, since renamed Vodafone Essar.

Russian services conglomerate Sistema which yesterday bought a 10-per cent stake in Indian telecom operator Shyam Telelink Ltd for $11.4 million, said it plans to raise its holding in to 51 per cent.

The huge growth potential has attracted several domestic groups as well, including real estate firms like Omaxe, Unitech and Parsvnath Developers.

The rush of telecom licence-seekers has prompted government to set an October 1 deadline for receiving applications.

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Videocon seeks mobile phone licences for 22 of the 23 telecom circles