Virgin Mobile, Spice Group bid for 3G franchise deal of MTNL
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 03, 2009, 19:15
New Delhi: B K Modi-promoted Spice Group and British Virgin Mobile have bid for MTNL's franchise deals to offer 3G services in Mumbai and Delhi.

"Virgin Mobile and Spice Group have bid for our 3G franchise deal. We will finalise the bidder(s) in a month," Kuldip Singh, Director (Technical), MTNL told agency.

Spice Group, which had sold off its mobile services business to Idea Cellular, has business interests in telecom, mobile software and retail stores.

Virgin Mobile, on other hand, is owned by Virgin Group of the UK. It already has a franchise agreement in India with Tata Teleservices for providing telecom services under the Virgin Mobile brand to the youth segment.

MTNL had invited bids in July for a franchise deal to sell its 3G mobile services on a revenue-sharing basis.

MTNL is seeking a partner with the expertise to help it kick start its 3G deployments before competitors in private sector, like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar, can enter the fray. The government has announced the spectrum auction base price and the auction is likely to take place soon.

This involves sharing of cost, risk and reward, with the partner bringing expertise and equipment funding to the table.

"It is apt to emphasise that in accordance with the advertisement, interested bidders may choose not to participate in the data room process and are free to submit technical and financial bids by the deadline of October 2, 2009," the BPE added.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest telecom market in terms of investment and subscribers due to its large and fast growing population. The country's continued telecom growth is expected to trigger more intense competition among a growing number of operators.

MTNL is the second telecom operator in Mauritius and is operating in Nepal through a joint venture, UTL. It was keen on Sri Lanka Telecom as well but at the moment, the plan is on the backburner.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 03, 2009, 19:15

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