RCom to set up WiMax services in 50 countries

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Sources, March 20: Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group's Reliance Communications (RCom) is planning to set up WiMax networks across 50 countries in the next three years to move into the global telecommunication market RCom plans WiMax services in 50 countries. To start up, the telecom giant is planning to acquire a European WiMax company in a $300-400 mn (Rs 1,200-1,600 crore) deal. The worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMax) is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways. RCom has set up WiMax networks in 18 cities in the country, where Tata Communications and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam are the other major players.

According to sources close to the development, the Anil Ambani group company is close to acquiring a company in Europe that has WiMax licences for over 20 countries across Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America. The name of the company could not be ascertained. But merchant banking sources said that the acquisition would be in the range of $300-400 million. The acquisition of the European company will enable RCom set up fresh WiMax network in these countries and scale up the existing network. The Indian company will have to make additional investments in these countries.

This would be company"s second acquisition in the WiMax space. In February, the company had acquired a significant stake in a French WiMax chip manufacturer Sequans Communications. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Further, RCom will expand its reach across countries in the SAARC region, Mediterranean and other South African nations. A spokesperson for RCom declined to comment on the development.

However, sources added that the move was part of RCom"s Vision 2012". The company intends to use undersea cables and WiMax-enabled last mile access in a similar number of geographies. RCom intends to provide high-speed broadband services, voice, video and data suite and 4G services, after making inroads into the global market. The company intends to connect over 2.5 billion individuals over WiMax networks.

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