VSNL to sell 20% stake in internet subsidiary; India WiMAX round-up

2 Jan 2008

Tata group company VSNL – currently undergoing a rebranding exercise to transform into Tata Communications – has revealed it is looking to sell a 20% stake in Direct Internet, the broadband venture the telco recently hived off into a separate entity. According to a Tata group source, several financial investors have already shown an interest in acquiring the stake.

In separate but related news, VSNL plans to launch retail WiMAX services in January 2008, initially in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and then to 35 other cities. The company plans to invest between USD500 million and USD600 million over the next three years, by which time VSNL expects to have network coverage of 125 cities and towns. Meanwhile Reliance Communications, which already provides WiMAX services to business users in Bangalore in Pune, says it will extend its network to ten more cities by the end of March 2008. The dominant telco BSNL has set up ten WiMAX base stations in Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Hissar, Pinjore, Rohtak and Panipat, and plans to connect over 10,000 villages with high speed wireless broadband services via an extensive WiMAX network.