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Mumbai’s seventh cellular operator

Mumbai, May 8: Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) will shortly launch its CDMA services in Mumbai and the adjoining towns, becoming the seventh mobile phone operator in the city.

So far the company has invested Rs 2,400 crore and in the next couple of years it plans to invest up to Rs 3,380 crore in the Maharashtra circle alone.

The company was earlier known as Hughes Tele.com before the Tatas acquired the basic tele-services business from the Ispat group.

“We’ll be the seventh operator in the Mumbai circle. As we are the last entrant, there are challenges ahead of us,” said Y. V. L. Pandit, chief operating officer of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra).

It will be very competitive and the tariff packages are currently being discussed with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, he added.

Pandit said the company has covered 2,000 villages so far and by the end of this fiscal it will cover 6,000 villages.

Unlike the competitors, Pandit does not expect the company to break even this year. “It’s a long-drawn business with a long gestation period,” he warned. He expects his company to break even in five to six years.

TTL has been making small inroads into MTNL’s territory. Pandit said that while MTNL lost 24,000 fixed-line customers last year, TTL has gained 36,000 lines. “We will be looking at more and more MTNL subscribers,” he added.

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