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BPL buys out AT&T Wireless in mobile JV

BPL has bought out AT&T's 49% stake in their joint venture cellular firm for an undisclosed amount.

business Updated: Dec 04, 2003 14:23 IST

BPL group has bought out US firm AT&T Wireless Services Inc's 49 per cent stake in their joint venture cellular services firm, BPL Mobile Cellular, for an undisclosed amount, a top official said on Thursday.

"The deal has been signed," Sandip Basu, chief executive officer of BPL Mobile, told Reuters on Thursday. He did not disclose the amount paid to AT&T Wireless Services.

"We will be investing Rs 5 billion by next March to increase our subscriber base to two million users."

The unlisted BPL Mobile Cellular Ltd provides mobile services to 1.4 million customers in Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerela and Pondicherry.

Analysts expect India's hotly competitive mobile sector to undergo a series of mergers and acquisitions after a new government policy of clubbing mobile and landline services under a single licence.

The move has resulted in a drop in the valuations of many money-losing cellular firms who have complained the terms of a unified licence are stacked against them as they allow basic firms to cheaply enter the booming wireless market.

There are more than a dozen telecoms firms battling for a larger share of the mobile pie in India, which has more than 27 million customers.

First Published: Dec 04, 2003 10:58 IST