MTNL not for sale

26 May 2004

India’s new telecoms minister Dayanidhi Maran said yesterday that his government does not plan to privatise state-run telecoms operator MTNL. The announcement marks the new administration’s drive to reverse the previous government’s far-reaching privatisation agenda that would have seen Mumbai and Delhi-based operator MTNL floated on the stock exchange later this year. Maran also said that the state is in the process of reviewing the 49% foreign investment cap in telecoms service providers, after coming under pressure from the nation’s mobile service providers which want the ceiling raised to 74% so they can access cheaper loans from the international marketplace.