Telecom attracts Rs 118 billion FDI inflows

NEW DELHI: The total amount of major foreign direct investment inflow in the telecom sector amounted to Rs 118.18 billion in the last 17 years between August 1991 and January 2007.

Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Shakeel Ahmed told the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, that this FDI investment was on behalf of eight large players.

The largest proposals were by Aircel Ltd. with foreign investment of $800 million by Global Communication Services Holding Ltd, Essar Telecom India with FDI of $500 million by Essar Communications of Mauritius; Bharti Airtel Ltd. with foreign investment of $370 million from Vodaphone of United Kingdom, and a new joint venture to be formed with foreign investment of $100 million by Bycell Holding AG of Switzerland.

The other proposals are from AT & T Global Services of India with FDI of $3.6 million by AT & T Inc. of the United States; World Phone Internet Services with $3.6 million by Advance Internet Services of Mauritius; BT Telecom India with $5 million investment by BT Global Communications of Mauritius; and Spice Communications with $6 million investment by Distacom Communications (India) Ltd. of Mauritius.

The minister said that the recent approval by Vodaphone International Holdings of Netherlands for acquisition of effective shareholding of 51.96 per cent in Hutchison Essar Ltd. did not involve any inward inflow of FDI as the acquisition was by a non-resident entity from another non-resident entity.

While clearing the British telecom giant Vodaophone deal on 27 April, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) expressed concern on the FDI inflow into India and said the government should review the guidelines relating to foreign investment in the country across all sectors.

Under recently announced Press Note 3 ‘‘Indirect foreign investment shall mean foreign investment in the company/ companies holding shares of the licensee company and their holding company/companies or legal entity (such as mutual funds, trusts) on proportionate basis. In any case, the `Indian‘ shareholding will not be less than 26 per cent.‘‘

Vodafone had bought a controlling 52 per cent stake in HEL from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International at a total enterprise value of over $18 billion.

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