Six month countdown to state telecoms merger

18 Nov 2004

The Indian government today announced that a merger of the two state-owned telcos, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagan Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), will go ahead within six to eight months. The move, currently at the proposal stage, will create India’s largest telecoms company, with an estimated turnover of INR350 billion (USD7.8 billion). The new operator will control over 95% of the country’s wireline market with around 40 million subscribers, and around 25% of the mobile sector with approximately 8 million of the total 33.5 million wireless customers. The country’s existing mobile market leader Bharti currently controls around 26% of domestic wireless subscribers.