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Saturday, Sep 14, 2002

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WorldTel not keen on India; Reliance tie-up off

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Sept. 13

WORLDTEL has finally called off its telecommunications joint venture with Reliance, attributing its move to the presence of ``different corporate objectives''. The company, says Mr Sam Pitroda, CEO, has no more interest in India for the time being on the telecom front.

WorldTel, which is a private sector outfit created by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is now looking at the emerging market in Bangladesh, where it proposes to become a basic service operator. It is, however, aware of the fact that a telecom project in a developing economy takes a long time to get started.

On another front, Mr Pitroda (who was the first Chairman of the Telecom Commission and founder of the Centre for the Development of Telematics) welcomed the proposal to merge MTNL and BSNL. ``The concept looks good... there will be synergies in terms of management and corporate culture'', he said, adding that the main objectives of a telecom project should be in sync with the market it serves. ``It has to be a commercial entity meeting customers' needs at the lowest possible costs and still making money in the process. No favours should be donated'', he told newspersons.

Earlier, speaking at the All-India Management Association convention, Mr Pitroda underlined certain global trends that were giving shape to businesses worldwide. For a country such as India, these trends include the emergence of leisure industries and the demand driven by young consumers.

On a more international scale, businesses are getting increasingly concerned about issues like security. The latter has assumed great significance in view of the recent developments. Some of these issues can be addressed successfully if there is a will to execute the right plans and programmes.

``The ability to execute is the key, and that's often lacking'', he said, adding that it was important to ``create a situation within the Indian system that will help the country execute in a better manner''.

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