Saturday, November 08, 2008

BSNL - plans to expand abroad

India's BSNL plans to bid for telecom licences abroad

Indian state-run telecoms firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd plans to bid for licences in African and Middle Eastern countries as it looks to expand to overseas markets, its chairman said on Friday.

"We are looking for growth in international markets. We will bid for licences in low tele-density markets in Africa and Middle East," Kuldeep Goyal told reporters at a news conference.

BSNL is India's second-largest telecoms firm after Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in total subscriber base, but in the fast-growing mobile telephony segment it is ranked fourth.

The government was planning a public float for the firm, which one company official had said could raise up to $10 billion. But turmoil in equity markets and opposition from BSNL employees has put a brake on its plans.

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