Reliance Communications Ventures Ltd (RCoVL) got listed in Indian stock exchanges yesterday, and is now valued in the upwards of $8 billion. In a post-listing conference, Anil Dhribai Ambani spoke at length about his plans for communication business, and the digital delivery of content was one of the important topics he covered in his speech. Another highlight of the event was that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed the audience via video conferencing.
Televisionpoint has some details: Microsoft, which has an existing technological alliance with Reliance Communications Ventures Ltd (RCoVL) for IPTV services, is likely to upgarde that into a joint venture partnership. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, who spoke via video conferencing, said that it would look at the possibility of picking up a strategic stake in RCVL due to the immense potential of the IPTV business. Currently, there is a limit on FDI to the tune of 74 per cent and RCoVL has plans to rope in equity participation. RCoVL is planning to roll out IPTV services by the end of 2006. Currently, Reliance ADA group holds 37 per cent, another 32 per cent held by FIIs, GDRs 23 per cent by retail investors and the rest by Indian institutions.
The two companies had planned to work together to jointly create, test and deliver next-generation Internet Protocol (IP)-based television services using an IPTV solution being developed by Microsoft TV. This new technology is designed to enable Reliance Infocomm to leverage its nationwide infrastructure (that includes 60,000 kilometres of fibre optic) to deliver a set of next-generation television. Note, in December last year, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has met Reliance Infocomm Head Anil Ambani to discuss various areas of cooperation, importantly to make IPTV, a reality in India. “I had a chance to meet Anil Ambani today. We will now help them in rolling out broadband services… He has a strategy in place and we will play a key role in helping them,” Gates had said at that time.
The Hindu reports, quoting Anil Ambani, “We will invest around Rs. 5,000 crore per annum over the next three years in our business segments of broadband, global and wireless businesses. Internal accruals and debt financing will fund this capital expenditure. If we need to increase the capex at a later stage, we can fund it by debt.”
The Financial Express: -