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Rediff.com  » Business » DLF, AT&T in talks for mobile services

DLF, AT&T in talks for mobile services

October 06, 2007 13:16 IST
Real estate major DLF Ltd is talking to US telecom giant AT&T as a strategic partner to roll out pan-India mobile services.

AT&T has also applied for a universal access service licence (UASL), which allows operators to offer services in both GSM and CDMA technology, with the Mahindra & Mahindra group, for 22 circles. The US company, however, has stipulated that it wants a majority equity stake in the mobile venture.

This will be AT&T's second coming in India after it exited Idea Cellular a few years ago.

DLF had also applied for a pan-India licence on its own and without a foreign partner. A senior DLF executive said: "We are in talks with various international telecom operators; all the big operators will approach us."

Sources close to the development, however, confirmed that DLF has been approached by AT&T. An AT&T India spokesperson said: "We do not comment on market rumours or speculation."

Insiders also said DLF is talking to other international telecom majors apart from AT&T.

With over 300 Indian companies applying for pan-India UASLs, the race is on to get international partners with experience in the telecom sector as strategic partners. This is because the industry expects the government to offer only two or three licences in each circle.

Most of the world's telecom majors, however, already have a presence in India - Vodafone, Singtel, Maxis and Malaysia Telekom among others.

Russian telecom giant Sistema has also entered the fray, indirectly applying for a pan-India licence through the acquisition of Rajasthan-based Shyam Telecom.

Sources close to the development said Japanese giant NTT DoCoMO and Deutsche Telecom had also shown interest in launching operations in India.

Surajeet Das Gupta & Nayantara Rai in New Delhi
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