AT&T is looking for a way to get back into India's lucrative and growing telecom market and it thinks its answer might be found with Indian incumbent telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL). A report in The Economic Times revealed that the U.S. telco has asked BSNL if it could become an investor. At this point, it's not clear if the Indian government if interested in allowing a foreign investor to buy a stake in BSNL.
Of course, any potential deal with AT&T or another foreign service provider would first have to gain the Indian government's approval. "The government is unlikely to sell a majority stake in BSNL, which is already undergoing restructuring. If at all there is a sale to a foreign operator, it will not be more than 26 percent, considering the sensitivity of the sector," according to an unnamed source close to BSNL. However, both AT&T and BSNL have denied that any such deal is in the works.
The U.S. telco's desire to reenter India's telecom market comes at a time when the country is seeing rapid growth in the telecom sector. A yearly survey by Voice&Data reported that India's telecom subscriber base grew by 10 million each month last year, reaching 384.7 million by last December. AT&T is not the only telco interested in India. Verizon Business has also been expanding its presence in the region to serve business customers.
- The Economic Times has this article
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