RealTime IT News

MTNL to List on NYSE, Net Subsidiary Eyes Nasdaq

India's telecom major MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange by next week, even as its wholly-owned Internet arm Millennium Telecom plans a listing on Nasdaq.

Millennium Telecom has completed the registration formalities, according to S. Rajagopalan, chairman and managing director of MTNL.

MTNL's entire Net business would be transferred to Millennium Telecom, which has its headquarters in Mumbai. It has already applied to the government to transfer the Internet license held by the parent company to the subsidiary.

"Once the subsidiary gets underway, we will be able to focus more on the Internet business and, hopefully, increase its value. We will then be able to get a far better value for the company overseas," Rajagopalan said.

The company is also obtaining a Category A license, which will allow it to become a nationwide ISP. Currently it has a Category B (regional) license.

Millennium Telecom, which is aiming at a 40 percent market share in the business, will be an independent entity with its own real estate and reseller network, and operate on commercial terms with the parent fixed-line provider.

The company will have an authorized capital of US$24 million, and MTNL's equity contribution will be through transfer of assets, said Rajagopalan.

Millennium Telecom will have a new head and a totally different marketing strategy, which will include more value-added products, better tariff packages and aggressive sales.

On the top of the list is the creation of a 24-hour customer care center.

The target for the subscriber base has been set at 100,000 each in Delhi and Mumbai within the year.

MTNL, which currently has nearly 30,000 subscribers, expects around 25 percent of the company's revenues to come from Internet and related services by 2002.

The company, which is also beefing up its portal activity, has applied to the government of India for expansion of its international links.