Tata Teleservices and NTT DoCoMo sign US$2.6 billion Deal

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Feb. 24 – On Monday, the Indian government finally gave their nod to Japan’s NTT DoCoMo buying a 27.3 percent stake in Tata Teleservices Ltd the country’s sixth-largest mobile operator for 129.24 billion rupees (US$2.6 billion). The deal will also allow NTT DoCoMo to acquire 20.25 percent in Tata Tele's listed unit Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, for 9.45 billion rupees (US$188 million) the government said. The twin investments make this one of the largest foreign direct investments to flow into India in the past year and NTT DoCoMO's largest overseas invetsment in eight years.

This marks the Tata Group’s third major international deal. In 2007, Tata Steel bought the Corus Group Plc for US$13 billion marking India’s largest takeover. Last year the conglomerate’s automobile arm Tata Motors bought Jaguar and Land Rover for US$2.3 billion.

The deal with NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest telecom operator will allow Tata Teleservices to expand networks, access to newer technology and compete with larger rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Reliance Communications Ltd. It will also give NTT DoCoMo an entry into the world’s most dynamic wireless market.

Indian and Japanese trade ties have been rising year on year. The two countries plan to sign a FTA soon and expect trade to reach US$20 billion by 2010.

Besides NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile is also interested in garnering a share of India's telecom pie. “We are looking at India for our expansion,” Wang Jianzhou, chairman and CEO of China Mobile, told the Business Standard on the sidelines of a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.