Second national operator (SNO) Globacom Limited is to acquire stake in an Indian operator as part of its plans to explore beyond the Nigerian telecoms market.

Globacom, a relatively new entrant into the Nigerian telecoms business, has been built from ground up by Nigerian businessman, Mike Adenuga Jr., has commenced the initial phase of its international exploration through the foray into the Indian telecoms market.

Based on its plans, the SNO, which has no plans to set up a fresh telecoms business in India, wants to acquire an existing industry player before moving into the nation’s oil and banking sectors at a later date.

Chief Operating Officer (COO), Globacom Limited, Mohammed Jameel (an Indian national himself) was quoted by The Economic Times of India as saying that the SNO plans to invest some $700 million in India. It also hopes to explore new markets in Morocco, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and Benin Republic. Globacom would employ some 150 Indians out of the 400 people planned to drive its expansion into global markets.

The Indian newspaper estimates the value of Adenuga’s MA Group with interests in oil, banking and telecoms to be in the region of $5 billion.

“We are a cash-rich company keen on foraying into India, as the telecom market here is booming. We are not averse to investing in call centres, banking and petroleum sectors in India. We have decided to make India the Asian hub for our manpower needs for telecom,” he says adding that, “we are looking at a strategic partnership with one of the existing telecom operators. Globacom is going to invest $500-700m in India.”

He said the company is already in talks with some Indian operators for picking up equity stake, as well as for technology tie-ups. “The talks are in preliminary stages, but the response has been good,” he said, refusing to divulge names of companies.

But the firm is not keen to put money in smaller operators as it will be difficult to get returns in future. “We are not eager to pick up equity in any small firm,” he adds.

A team from Globacom is in India to identify manpower sourcing channels for fulfilling its requirements. “India is a reservoir of skilled and technically competent manpower in the telecom and retail sector. Manpower sourcing has been identified as a critical area by MA Group,” he added.

"We are in talks with some big players in the field of telecommunication in India for entering into a strategic relationship. Talks are at initial stages. However, an announcement is expected in the next two to three months," according to Jameel.

"The Indian telecom sector is slightly crowded. But, it has huge potential and requires significant investment to grow further," he adds.

"Our subscriber base is expected to cross the 10 million- mark by the middle of the current year and total turnover to cross $1.25 billion," Jameel said.

Technology Times