To launch ILD services this quarter

Thomas K. Thomas

New DelhiFeb. 8It's not just the mobile segment that is attracting global majors into India. International long distance segment is really hotting up with the US company AT&T saying that it is open to an acquisition to enhance its offering. The company has already taken a long distance telephony licence in India and is all set to launch services in the current quarter ahead of competition from other global telecom majors, including BT, Verizon and Cable & Wireless.

Mr V.S. Gopi Gopinath, Vice-President, Asia Pacific told

Business Line

, "We are open to acquiring companies that will take us to the next levels in terms of our offerings, product innovation and infrastructure. This acquisition can be of companies that are based in India or anywhere else." He, however, said that no concrete proposals are in the offing as of now.

Mr Gopinath said that India was the biggest market for AT&T in Asia and the company is planning an aggressive roll-out of its services. AT&T is targeting multinational and business process outsourcing traffic and will not offer retail ILD services as Bharti and VSNL are doing. "We are essentially looking to offer data-based services to our global customers who have base in India," he said.

At present, AT&T offers managed network services to almost 150 companies in India through a partnership with VSNL. Once it launches the ILD services, all of these clients will be migrated to AT&T's own platform.

When asked to comment on the dominance of Indian companies in owning the under sea cable infrastructure, Mr Gopinath said that ownership of the cable did not matter as the focus was on delivering the end product.

Mr Gopinath also did not rule out the possibility of AT&T making a comeback into the Indian cellular market, which it had exited a few years back.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 9, 2007)
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