Bharti to buy Alcatel Lucent stake in JV

Written by feBureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 6 2013, 06:47am hrs
The countrys largest telecom operator , Bharti Airtel, on Tuesday said it would buy out Alcatel Lucents entire shareholding in Alcatel Lucent Managed Network Service India.

The entity is currently a JV between Airtel and Alcatel Lucent. The move is in line with the companys new business model to manage fixed line and broadband networks.

The entity would operate independent of Bharti. Going forward, it would invite other operators to join in with equity participation and bring the management of their broadband and fixed line networks under its fold.

In a statement, Bharti said it was introducing a new business model for managing fixed line and DSL broadband networks, on the lines of Indus Towers. Bharti Airtels subsidiary Bharti Infratel holds 42%stake in Indus Towers, with the remaining stakes in the company with Vodafone (42%) and Idea (16%).

The operations of the entity will be strengthened by the transition of proven tools, processes and all manpower and skilled resources from the existing joint venture, the statement said. Shishir Kumar, currently Bharti Airtels CEO (Upper North) has been appointed as the CEO of the entity.

With this innovative model, we are breaking new ground in an industry which is on the cusp of a massive data growth, Bharti Airtels outgoing CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor said.

This new model, along with the recently launched network experience centre at Manesar, would provide greater control for Bharti Airtel over the delivery of a world-class data experience to customers, he added.

However, the financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the company.

Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent Indias president and managing director Munish Seth said the joint venture was a catalyst in transforming Bharti's Telemedia business at an accelerated pace. The formation of this new model is a step in that direction and will leverage the core competencies that Alcatel Lucent Managed Network Service India has built over time, he said.

Bharti Airtel offers broadband, data and fixed line telephone services in 87 Indian cities and has a customer base of 3.3 million. Out of them, 1.4 million are subscribed to broadband services.