Blog Post

Telco Roundup: AT&T, M&M; BSNL Rebranding; Legal Issues

— Today’s the last day for filing applications for a telecom licence in India, and I just checked – the convenience store across the street has not applied for a telecom licence. However, moneycontrol reports that AT&T (NYSE: T) has jointly applied for a wireless licence with Mahindra & Mahindra; Not surprising, since AT&T already has a joint venture with the Mahindra group, which has received National and International Long Distance (NLD and ILD) licences. AT&T owns a maximum permissible 74 percent stake in that venture. They’re also on the lookout for acquisitions in the wireless space.

— Public sector telco BSNL is consolidating its services under a single brand – BSNL. DataOne will be rebranded as BSNL Broadband, SkyOne as BSNL VSAT, CellOne (post-paid mobile) and Excel (Prepaid mobile) as BSNL Mobile, Tarang (WLL) as BSNL WLL, bfone as BSNL landline and SancharNet as BSNL Internet. The idea, says a spokesperson, is to not confuse customers with multiple brands. [via techwhack and ET]

— Sunil Jain writes in Business Standard that there is outrage over Communications Minister A Raja’s arbitrary deadline of just one week to submit telecom licence applications. Apparently, while most are rushing in their applications, the matter might go to court, since it favors existing telecom players and prevents others to apply for spectrum. Also, TRAI’s recommendation that only existing telecom firms be allocating spectrum is also likely to be challenged. More on what else in telecom is likely to result in a legal battle, and hence a delay in allocation of 3G spectrum. Three more years for 3G, it seems.