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AT&T pulls out of Indian mobile services venture

Posted: 08 Dec 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:at&t wireless? bpl mobile cellular? gsm? mobile phones?

AT&T Wireless has pulled out of its venture with BPL Mobile Cellular, a company that operates GSM-based mobile services in western and southern India. AT&T's equity of 49 percent in BPL has been bought out by BPL. It was not disclosed how much BPL paid for the equity.

The move is said to be part of AT&T's decision to focus its operations in North America and monetize its non-North American operations.

AT&T came to own equity in BPL Mobile when it acquired the original stakeholder, US West. However, AT&T continues to be a stakeholder in another GSM-based Indian mobile services venture, Idea Cellular, where it has 33 percent equity and is in partnership with major Indian industrial groups, the Tatas and the Birlas.

BPL, which once had a strong presence in India's telecom and consumer electronics markets, is now said to be facing troubled times.

In the last few months, India's mobile services market has undergone an explosive phase of growth with over a million customers being added each month by operators offering GSM and CDMA-based services. While GSM-based services started off years ago its growth was kept relatively slow. Last year a fierce price-based competition between CDMA and GSM-based operators became a windfall for the country's wireless phone subscribers.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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