DoCoMo mulling stake in Tata Teleservices; France Telecom denies interest

11 Sep 2008

Reuters is reporting that Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, is in talks to buy a stake in India’s Tata Teleservices (TTSL) in a deal that could exceed JPY100 billion (USD931 million); Tata sources claim DoCoMo is likely to take only a minority stake in the cellco. DoCoMo faces competition however, as it is understood that other international players are interested in the Indian cellco, which is part of the Tata Group conglomerate, as companies look to gain a foothold in the burgeoning Indian wireless market. Recent rumours had linked France Telecom with TTSL, but the French company has flatly denied that they are in talks with the Indian operator; UAE’s Etisalat, Mexico’s TelCel and Russia’s Altimo have also been reported to be interested in acquiring a stake in TTSL. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Tata Teleservices has set aside approximately USD2 billion for network investment, as the CDMA operator prepares to launch GSM services across India having obtained its pan-India unified licence in January 2008.