Indian telecom to attract $1 billion in 06/07

By : |March 11, 2005 0

KUKAS, India: India’s telecoms sector may attract about a billion dollars of foreign direct investment in the year ending March 2007 as global majors boost operations, Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran said.

Maran — who met top officials of global telecoms gear makers such as Nokia, Motorola and Alcatel at a recent 3GSM conference at Cannes — said many global firms were positive about starting manufacturing in India.

“You have Nokia and Elcoteq planning to set up units in India. So if all (these) investments fructify then the foreign investment should be around $1 billion in 2006/07,” the 38-year-old economics graduate said in an interview.

“India has a lot of growth potential and we need low cost manufacturing.”

India, Asia’s fourth largest economy, has set a target of attracting $800 million in foreign investment in the year to March 2006.

A combination of low wireless penetration of just 5 users in 100 people and rock-bottom call rates of about 2 to 3 U.S. cents a minute have made India the fastest growing major mobile market in the world.

There are about 52 million wireless customers in India and the number is widely expected to cross 80 million by December 2005. About 2 million new mobile customers are entering the galloping sector each month.

“I think by June this number should be 2.5-3 million, and by March 2006 we should be doing 4 million a month,” Maran said.

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