Reliance Communication, one of the leading service providers made a couple of announcements today which officially marks the start of the race as to who shall lead India in Next Generation services.
First , it has announced plans to expand its wholly owned subsidiary FLAG Telecom, whose main business is to deploy optical fibres throughout the world. They have committed that in the next three years they shall build the world’s largest IP network over submarine cable systems, and they have named it FLAG NGN ( Seriously, who is incharge of their Marketing?). FLAG NGN will cover Asia ( India and the South Eastern countries) , Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Trans-Pacific region (US west coast, Japan,China). Translating these to numbers which we can understand, FLAG Network will have the capability to carry 2.5 BILLION simultaneous voice calls, 300 million simultaneous webchats, 52 MILLION simultaneous video chats. I can already envision a Sightspeed in every home , future That should make Peter happy.
Second Announcement ( which I knew was in the Radar) Reliance Communications will be launching IPTV services in the top ten cities in India by end 2007. Trust me, I will be in line then.
Third, Reliance communications has officially expressed its interest in acquiring Hutchinson’s 67% stake in the Hutch-Essar venture. Om had reported about this earlier. Reliance is the India’s second largest mobile operator and this deal would shoot it to the top. There is a hitch though. There are regulatory laws which say that if Reliance were to make a bid, they ( since they are an Indian company) would need to do so for the total 100% whereas for Vodafone (a foreign company) to enter this fray, they can just get the 67%. Essar, Indian partner in this venture hold 33% and they are talking about getting the rest 67% for 11 Billion $. Wow!!!
But hey, if anybody can pull both the FLAG and Hutch buyout, it is Reliance under its Chairman Anil Ambani. Looks like BSNL ( the government controlled Indian telecom operator) needs to start pulling its socks up. Looks like a lot of things are happening in Reliance and they are all for the better.