Australian operator Telstra is planning a re-entry into India's consumer telecom market, nine years after it bailed out of the country’s earliest mobile operator.
The company has asked the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for permission to increase its stake in new JV Telstra Telecommunications to 74% from 49%, India's Business Standard reported. Telstra then plans to acquire NLD, ILD and ISP licenses from regulator DoT.
The JV is currently 51%-owned by India's Microland Investment, which would continue to hold a 26% stake under the proposal.
Foreign firms are prohibited from owning more than 74% of Indian telcos.
Telstra was one of a number of foreign telcos who won licenses in the early 1990s. It formed Modi Telstra in partnership the B K Modi Group, which launched services in Calcutta in 1995. Telstra sold out to Modi in 2000, which sold the business to Bharti Airtel in 2001for $90 million.
Telstra has confirmed that it had made the application to the FIPB, but has yet to indicate whether it will be participating in India's upcoming 3G auctions.
Separately, Telstra has tapped Tarek Robbiati as the new managing director of Telstra International.
Robbiati has headed up its Hong Kong mobile operator, CSL, for the past two years. Telstra International’s other assets include Telstra Clear in New Zealand, its 50% stake in bandwidth JV PCCW, Reach, its PoPs worldwide, and its China search and advertising businesses.