C&W set to enter India's long distance market

After AT&T, British Telecom and Verizon, UK-based Cable & Wireless (C&W) will also soon enter the long-distance telephony market in India, a report from The Times of India said.

The Times report said the $6-billion C&W group will be acquiring 74% stake in Cable & Wireless Networks India, an entity which has been incorporated early this month.

This company currently has nominee shareholders. The remaining 26% will be picked up by an Indian joint venture partner, the report said.

As per the existing policy, foreign investments for undertaking long distance services in India have a cap of 74%, the report said.

The foreign firms, which have initiated moves in the national and international long distance areas, are also taking the JV route as required by government policies, the report added.

AT&T has joined hands with the Mahindras while BT has formed a JV with Bhartias of Jubilant for their foray into the long-distance telephony venture.

Sources said both C&W and Verizon are currently scouting for local partners for their respective ventures. It is expected that both of them would be tying up with an India partner for whom telecom is not a strategic business, the report said.