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“We will soon have MMS connectivity with BPL and Idea”

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VoicenData Bureau
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The Rs 2,000 crore Hutch group is planning an IPO next year. Sandip Das, the CEO of three Hutch circles, speaks about revenues and infrastructure across the circles.

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What are the different circles contributing to the overall Hutch group in terms of subscribers and revenues?



Our biggest circle is Hutchison Max in Mumbai, which currently has 8.5 lakh subscribers and a turnover of Rs 723 crore. This is followed by Hutchison Essar in Delhi (the erstwhile Sterling Cellular), which has 8.2 lakh subscribers and a revenue of Rs 483 crore while Fascel (formerly Celforce) in Gujarat has 7 lakh subscribers and a revenue of Rs 447.4 crore. While these are the three main circles, we also have Hutchison Essar East in Kolkata with subscriber base and turnover of 3.75 lakh and Rs 200 crore, respectively. Lastly, we also have Hutchison Essar South operating in Karnataka, Chennai and AP having 2.5 lakh subscribers and revenue of around Rs 200

crore. 

Sandip

Das
CEO

(for three circles), Hutch

Who are the vendors that Hutch has been working with for infrastructure?



Our switch has been provided by Ericsson in Mumbai and South, by Siemens in Delhi and Kolkata, and by Nokia in Gujarat. Motorola is the preferred vendor for radio in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata while Ericsson and Nokia are the providers in South and Gujarat respectively. For IN, the vendors are Ericsson in Mumbai and South, Siemens in Delhi and Kolkata and Nokia in Gujarat. Finally, for GPRS, the vendor is Ericsson across all the circles.

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What are the issues in MMS interconnectivity with other service providers?



We are currently providing national MMS interconnectivity with BPL and are soon going to do that with Idea also. BPL uses the Teledyne solution that makes it easier for us to implement interconnection. However, Bharti uses CMG solution, which is really not up to the standard and prevents easy interconnectivity with other service providers. Currently, we have 50 percent of the 120,000 GPRS user base in the country, followed by BPL and Idea Cellular whereas Bharti’s GPRS base is yet to reach the critical mass. Therefore, it makes business sense for us to have interconnectivity with BPL and Idea and try with Bharti at a later date.

How are you going to beef up your infrastructure in Mumbai?



We currently have 4 MSCs and 600 cell sites in Mumbai and therefore do not feel the requirement of adding more switches and sites. However, as we have crossed the 8-lakh subscriber base in this circle, we have applied for a third spectrum. This third spectrum is an 8MHz of 800 GSM spectrum. Even in Gujarat, we have applied for an additional spectrum of 2 MHz of 1,800 GSM, though this has not been granted yet.

With regards to the talks of the proposed IPO for Hutch next year, how are the patterns of the stakes going to change after the merger?



In Delhi, Karnataka, AP and Chennai, Hutch has 49 percent stake while the rest is with Essar holdings. In Gujarat, Hutchison has 70 percent stake and the rest is with Hindujas and Kotaks. But it is expected that post merger Hutch will have a 49 percent stake in the merged entity, while the balance 51 percent will be held by other shareholders like
Essar, Kotak Mahindra and Hindujas.

Rajneesh De

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