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AT&T Confirms Interest in Reentering Indian Wireless Market

Date: 3/21/2008 2:52:11 PM

America’s leading incumbent telephone company, AT&T Inc., says that it will take an “aggressive” approach to India’s mobile phone industry, hoping to reenter the world’s fastestgrowing market for wireless services.

“We are very serious about the market,” said AT&T’s regional manager for Asia, Bernard Yee, in a briefing with reporters in Hong Kong earlier this week. He declined to say whether the company wants to start its own Indian wireless business, or acquire one of the country’s preexisting carriers.

Yee also declined to comment on speculation that AT&T wants to purchase a stake in Videocon Industries Ltd.’s Datacom Solutions Pvt Ltd., which owns a wireless airwaves license in India. Rumours of such a deal were published on Monday by the Press Trust of India, which suggested that such a deal could close in a matter of weeks.

India’s mobile phone market gained 8.77 million new subscribers in January alone, edging out China’s 8.48 million, and solidifying its position as the world’s fastest growing wireless market.

AT&T exited India’s wireless marketplace in 2004 by selling its stake in Idea Cellular Ltd. It is now seeking to expand its foreign holdings, however, in an attempt to counter slowing U.S. demand for residential landline services.

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