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Verizon set for voice foray

US telecom giant Verizon Communications is planning to enter voice telephony in India, report Venkatesh Ganesh & Indulal PM.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2007 21:40 IST

This must be the next big entry into India's telecom market.

After Vodafone's acquisition of Hutchison Essar, India's fourth largest telecom operator, US telecom giant Verizon Communications, with interests in telecommunications and broadband services, is planning to enter voice telephony in India.

The company has formed a joint venture with Videocon Industries and has a letter of intent for long-distance services in and out of India.

Talking about a possible foray into voice telephony, where Verizon is the second largest telecom player in the US, Blair Crump, group president (international and premier accounts), Verizon, said, "We are exploring that option as well. But we have not yet come up with specific plans to start voice telephony in the country."

Verizon holds an Internet service provider licence in India and has various local hubs. It provides services to its multinational customers' Indian operations through partnerships with telecom companies in the country and abroad.

Over 20 firms have this year applied for new telecom licences, including Parsavnath Developers, Unitech and Videocon. India is the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world with over 6 million new mobile subscribers being added every month. Videocon has applied for licences to start operations in 22 telecom circles across the country.

However, analysts wonder about the timing of Verizon’s entry into India, which has entrenched players. “If they decide to make a foray, they will have to look at buying smaller players,” said a telecom analyst with a Mumbai brokerage house. Global telecom companies like AT&T, British Telecom and SingTel have licences in India to provide services for corporate clients.