IndiaWatch: Four for Thought

There are increasing signs that the deal between Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and MTN Group Ltd. , which would give India's No. 1 operator effective control over South Africa's MTN, is going to happen.

The South African government is not blocking the deal, and the country's treasury is in the process of assessing an application from MTN on exchange control for a proposed tie-up. Both are seen as indicators that the deal is on and that it will be finalized before the Sept. 30 deadline set by the two companies, despite continued concerns from MTN's shareholders, according to a Reuters report.

Towering tales
Reliance Infratel, the tower arm of Reliance Communications Ltd. , is bringing its 60 billion Indian rupee ($1.228 billion) IPO back to life and will have a draft prospectus available in the next week, according to this report in India's Business Standard.

Fellow tower companies, Tata Quippo and Aircel Ltd. are dragging their heels before taking the next step toward a possible buyout of some or all of Aircel's tower assets by Tata Quippo. The latter admits that it hasn't even begun due diligence, despite being shortlisted along with American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), Bharti Infratel, and Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) a month ago. Reuters has more on this.

AT&T not talking to BSNL
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) 's chairman, Kuldeep Goyal, has refuted claims that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is interested in buying a share in India's state-owned operator. Rumors that the U.S. giant was interested in taking a stake began circulating at the beginning of the week, but Goyal says that BSNL has not been approached by any company. Any decision to sell a stake in the company would ultimately lie with the government and BSNL. There's more on this from India's Economic Times.

Loop ramps up in Mumbai
Loop Mobile is investing around $75 million into its Mumbai operations to build out more GSM base stations and help grow the subscriber base of the telco formerly known as BPL. The Economic Times has more on this too.

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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