India’s Economic Times is reporting that global telecoms company France Telecom (FT) has been granted government approval for an internet service provider (ISP) licence in India. The French company has informed the Indian government that it wants to consolidate all of its operations in the country under a single licence. FT already holds a licence to offer national and international long distance operations through its wholly-owned subsidiary Orange Business Services; through the subsidiary it also owns a 74% stake in another company, Global One Indian. FT’s new application for an ISP licence however has been made by Equant Network Services, and it is understood that it will surrender its other licences following the approval of the new concession.
At present FT competes with four other large international companies in the national and international long-distance sectors – US-based Verizon and AT&T, British Telecom and Cable & Wireless (C&W). In separate but related news, UK-owned C&W has announced that it has invested USD30 million in the rollout of its Indian next generation network known as the Multi-service Platform (MSP). The new infrastructure will offer managed IP services, including Ethernet-based solutions, valued added communications applications and International Private Leased Circuits (IPLC). The operator expects to begin migrating customers on to the new platform from February 2009.