AT&T and Virgin Media are reportedly interested in re-entering India, a move that will further heighten competition in the crowded telecoms market.
An Economic Times (ET) report cites “top sources” in the government, which claim both companies have expressed interest to enter India, with an initial foray likely to centre around an MVNO launch.
This entrance route could then prove to be a “precursor to a larger game plan”, claim sources, with AT&T in particular likely to be interested in participating in India’s upcoming spectrum auction, which will be held in the latter part of 2016.
“There is a huge quantity of spectrum over 2000MHz that will be made available for sale and this could well be an opportune time for any new operator to come in,” claims a source.
Both companies have reportedly held preliminary discussions with the government, and are readying an entrance strategy.
The move would mark AT&T’s second coming in India, with it being one of the early entrants in the mid 90s, before exiting in 2005.
Liberty Global owned Virgin Media also had a presence in India after a partnership with the Tata group in 2008, before an exit in 2011.
In March, India’s Telecom Commission also reportedly gave the green light for MVNOs to enter the country, which has apparently further fueled the two companies interests.
Market watchers have suggested MVNOs in the market will generate additional competition in what is already a price sensitive market, and the entrance of new player Reliance Jio Infocomm later this year will also add further disruption.
MVNOs however could also find it difficult to compete with cut throat mobile and data tariffs in the country, with minimal scope to undercut the market’s established players, added analysts speaking to ET.