India to end monopoly on long-distance domestic telephone carrier
NEW DELHI, India
India will open its long-distance
domestic telephone market to private operators, ending the
five-decade government monopoly.
Communications Minister Ram Vilas Paswan announced Sunday that
international telephone service would probably be privatized by
The privatization is expected to lower domestic long-distance
call rates by up to 50 percent, The Hindustan Times newspaper said.
The government earns 120 billion rupees ($2.6 billion) a year
from long-distance service within India.
Private companies would be required to pay 1 billion rupees ($22
million) to enter the market and share 15 percent of its revenue
with the government, Paswan told reporters on Sunday. Service
providers can have up to 49 percent foreign ownership, Paswan told
The government plans to sell shares worth 100 billion rupees
($2.3 billion) in state-owned companies this year in the local
share market and through global depository receipts.
The sales will include stakes in blue chip companies such as
long-distance telecommunications carrier Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
and domestic telephone company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.