Escotel has emerged as the No 1 cellular service provider in Kerala, in terms of subscriber base. Recently taken over by IDEA Cellular, Escotel has left the second largest service provider BSNL with a lead of over 38,000 subscribers. The group is poised to touch 4-lakh subscriber base by the end of March 2004.
"Sterling performance of Escotel in Kerala has enabled it to bounce to the leadership status and is all set to grow faster," observed Vikram Mehmi, CEO - IDEA Cellular Ltd. An officlal release from IDEA said the group was soon to invest Rs 200 crore in Escotel circles across the country. The release quoted Mehmi as saying: "Plans have already been drawn up for major network expansions in the existing towns as well as new towns."
IDEA Cellular Ltd, a three-way equal joint venture of Tata, Birla and the US-based AT&T, has recently bought out 100 per cent of Escotel Mobile Communications to add six new circles to its existing five circles in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh - taking its total to 11 circles.
With the Escotel buyout, IDEA has positioned itself as the leading cellular operator in the country, with a subscriber base of over 3.3 million. The company was the first to launch Global SMS in India, which allowed the user to send and receive SMS from over 540 networks and 170 countries across the technology platforms like GSM, CDMA, TDMA and satellite phones.
According to the release, IDEA's recent financial closure with a projected cost of Rs 5,000 crore was the largest ever in Indian telecom history.