Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications on Thursday acquired Uganda-based Anupam Global Soft, a company holding service provider license, and announced an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) over the next five years to set up telecom network in the African nation.
RCom is planning to offer mobile, fixed line, internet, national and international long distance services, in addition to Wi-Max and Wi-Fi services in Uganda, a company statement said.
"Uganda telecom market is similar to what India was eight years back. Our expertise in managing world's largest integrated telecom network and deep understanding of diverse consumer segments makes us confident to achieve a position to add further value to our two million shareholders," it said.
The company has already received spectrum and plans to launch mobile services by the end of 2008. "RCom is targeting to invest up to 500 million dollar (Rs 2,000 crore) in establishing a high quality integrated telecom network in Uganda to capture the significant growth potential in the emerging African market."
This is the third global acquisition for the company after FLAG in 2003 and Yipes in 2007, and first international acquisition as far as services are concerned. RCom had acquired FLAG for $ 211 million and Yipes for $ 300 million.
Reliance has recently been allowed to offer GSM-based mobile services in India along with its existing CDMA operations throughout the country. The move comes a day after the announcement of formation of Reliance Globalcom, the umbrella brand for all its international businesses.
Earlier, RCom Chairman Anil Ambani had said the company would be investing over $ 6 billion in capex next fiscal. Merchant banking sources indicate that around 35 per cent of this amount would go in expanding the global business, around $ 200 million in increasing footprint of ethernet services and $ 300 million in data centres.
The company plans to connect the African continent with the rest of the world by laying a submarine cable system through its arm Reliance FLAG and would be spending $ 1.5 billion (Rs 6,000 crore) in building a 1.15 lakh-km fully IP-enabled optic network to reach two-thirds of world population.
Uganda has a population of about 30 million with 10 per cent mobile phone users till March, 2007, providing ample scope for expansion. Anupam Global Soft holds Public Infrastructure Provider License and Public Service Provider License issued by Uganda Communications Commission, RCom said.