The Government has decided to acquire the 51 per cent stake from Alcatel Lucent in the Chennai-based Research & Development centre.

The R&D centre was set up in 2005 to develop solutions for WiMax technology. Alcatel-Lucent owns 51 per cent stake in the R&D centre and the balance is held by Government owned C-DOT.

Proposal sent

C-DOT has sent a proposal to the Department of Telecom to take 100 per cent control over the centre, which has been accepted in principle.

The DoT has set up a committee to work out the modalities of the deal. According to an internal Government note seen by Business Line, the net worth of the R&D centre is in the negative. C-DOT has invested Rs 52 crore as equity and Rs 19 crore as loan.

Focus on key areas

Earlier, Munish Seth, President and Managing Director, Alcatel-Lucent –India, had told Business Line that the company wanted to reduce the stake in the venture to a minority status so that the Government can chase key areas like security.

“Instead of going to foreign entities to certify products, the Government can do this under the C-DOT Alcatel Lucent Research Centre (CARC),” Seth had said.

The R&D centre never took off due to rapid changes in technologies. Initially, the plan was to develop low-cost consumer premise equipment for WiMax technology for offering broadband services. But over the past few years, the ecosystem has moved towards Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology making the R&D centre rethink its plans.

CARC is now looking at products for green initiatives and rural broadband to leverage the centre’s capabilities.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 5, 2013)
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