India's Future Group eyes mobile franchise

05 Aug 2008

Diversified Indian conglomerate the Future Group plans to enter the fast-growing mobile services space as a franchisee for network operators.

A Reuters report also quoted the firm saying it is in talks with several firms for a potential launch next year.

'We are not in a hurry,' CEO Kishore Biyani said in a monthly newsletter. 'We have just begun talking with some network operators.'

The Future Group, which has interests in retail, real estate, insurance, financial services and logistics, has appointed consultancy McKinsey & Co and UK's Value Partners Group as advisers for its telecom plans, it said.

It expects to spend 1 billion rupees on the mobile foray, he said.

India currently does not allow mobile virtual network operators, who do not own networks or spectrum but merely rent them out from other providers. But franchisees are allowed.

The government has said it was considering allowing the popular MVNO model in the country. The telecoms regulator in May started consultations with firms and other stakeholders for formulating guidelines for MVNOs.

UK's Virgin Mobile recently tied up with telecoms operator Tata Teleservices to launch a youth-focused service.

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