Essar Group Seeks New Telecom Inning Via BPL Mobile

Essar GroupMumbai: Planning to provide mobile telephony services from 21 centres, Essar Group has filed for a pan-India licence under BPL Mobile, which would permit it to offer up 2G services in the state.

The group has applied for the license through, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPL Mobile. BPL Mobile presently offers GSM services in Mumbai, and has more than 1.1 million subscribers.

S Subramaniam, director and chief operating officer (CEO), BPL Communications, stated that a request has been filed with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Mr. Subramaniam added, “We have a sizable presence in Mumbai, but need to have a strategic roadmap for growth. A larger footprint will help us derive economies of scale and cost synergies in this highly competitive market. Expansion into new circles would meet both these objectives.”

The move, however, is not expected to assimilate UK-based telecom major Vodafone, Essar’s business partner in the Indian GSM operator Vodafone-Essar. Essar possesses 33% stake in Vodafone-Essar, whereas Vodafone keeps the resting 67%.

Vodafone, which is the world’s second biggest cellular company based on subscribers, had adopted the 67% Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) stake in Hutch-Essar for about $13.5 billion.

Essar Group had determined to be a joint venture partner with the company although it was questing after its telecom ventures via BPL Mobile and Essar Telecom Retail.

The Essar group was also busy in a bitter fight with HTIL on the rights of BPL Mobile that was adopted from entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

BPL was acquired by HTIL through Essar under the term that it would be shifted to the former on closing of the formalities. Essar later finished the contract citing regulative issues.