AT&T Eyeing Stake in Indian Mobile CompanyInternational, Mobile Broadband, Wireless June 7th, 2010
Rahul Gaitonde, Deputy Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 – Telecom giant AT&T is in talks with to Reliance Communications, one of India’s top mobile phone firms, to possibly purchase a minority share in it. Reliance was one of the few companies in the recent spectrum auction in India to obtain large sections of the Broadband Wireless Allocation band. Reliance is also in talks with Etisalat Emirates Telecommunications Corp ., an Abu Dhabi-based telecom company.
According to a report in Reuters ,the firm is looking to sell up to 26 percent of shares in the firm to increase capital and decrease existing debt. Currently, Reliance has a market cap of $7.4 billion.
India is growing into one of the world’s largest mobile phone markets with over 584.32 million subscribers. Unlike the United States, where new subscribership growth is minimal. India boasts a 3 percent growth per quarter.
With the recent purchase of the BWA band, the company aims to expand its business into the burgeoning mobile broadband market. Currently ,the firm offers a variety of m obile internet plans which range in price from $5 a month for 300 megabytes to $64 for 18 gigabytes. The plans increase in price and speed with tiers at 1 gb, 5 gb, and 10 gb.
AT&T sold its stake in the firm Idea Cellular back in 2005 and some experts say it has missed out on the nation’s rapid growth of mobile users. However, since Randall Stephenson took over as CEO, the firm has been looking to get back into the country.