Top 10 news in 2012: Aircel needs buyers to disconnect Maran

Telecom Lead Asia: Aircel is one of the jewels in Malaysian Maxis’ crown. But it badly looks at a buyer to get out of its alleged connection with Maran’s family.

Aircel has no other important reason to get out of the growing Indian telecom market. Despite senior level professional’s exodus from the company, Aircel commanded a strong position in mobile Internet market and value added services.

Maxis allegedly influenced ex-telecom minister Dhayanidhi Maran and family to invest in Aircel and enter the Indian mobile market. Getting an investor will not clear Aircel and its promoters from the current allegations. Meanwhile, the CBI recently said they are unable to crack the case due to lack of support from Maxis promoters in Malaysia.

Besides the exodus of senior executives, the CBI probe and stake sales plans have already affected Aircel’s 4G/LTE plans. It will now launch 4G / LTE in the first half of 2013.

Aircel, which is looking for a strategic partnership with companies such as Sistema of Russia, will invest $500 million to launch TD-LTE services in Chennai. Aircel has BWA spectrum in 8 circles.

For Maxis Communications CEO and Aircel director Sandip Das, investment in Aircel was a home coming after he resigned from Hutchison Essar (Vodafone India). Recently, Sandip Das expressed his displeasure on regulatory and policy uncertainties in Indian mobile market.

READ: Highlights of the interview appeared in Economic Times.

Maxis Communications has warned that regulatory and policy uncertainties could completely destroy the business case of telecom companies. Aircel, which did not participate in 2G spectrum auction, opposed the recent proposal by the telecom ministry that mandates existing operators to match the auction determined price for all airwaves they hold for the remaining period of their licences.

Aircel has recently put in $2 billion in the 3G and 4G auctions. Aircel has already invested $5 billion in rolling out 2G networks.

Aircel is making strong inroads into mobile VAS market and special packages for the youth. For instance, Aircel launched a new product Campus Special at Rs 149 in Delhi/NCR region. The product is aimed at students, who are taking College/University admissions in the city as the new session begins.

READ: Based on revenue, Aircel is the seventh largest telecom operator in India. During quarter ended 31 March 2012, Aircel revenue increased 6.14 percent to Rs 1,750.94 crore from Rs 1649.61 crore in December quarter ended 2011, according to TRAI data. recently reported that Aircel, India’s fifth largest mobile service provider, based on mobile subscribers, has appointed Kaizad Heerjee as its COO. After the exit of Gurdeep Singh, the earlier COO of Aircel, several senior professionals have left Aircel.

The existence of Aircel is good for the Indian mobile market. India needs mobile operators who have strong VAS and mobile Internet focus.

Note:’s editors have selected this news based on the impact it created on the industry and the company.

Krishna Aravind
[email protected]