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AsiaWatch: Reliance Hits Back

The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, the parent of Indian operator Reliance Communications Ltd. , has done the English language proud with its response to claims about the accounting methods of its telecom business.

That's the lead item in this roundup of news from Asia/Pacific, which includes acquisition updates, social networking in China, and spending plans in Indonesia.

  • Hats off to whoever wrote Reliance's response to claims, reported here by the Business Standard, that the operator had misreported revenues in an effort to pay lower license and spectrum fees.

    Reliance described the claims, reportedly included in an audit report that's set to be examined by India's Department of Telecommunications , as "a vicious and mala fide campaign of falsehoods and disinformation."

    And that's just the beginning. Reliance says its rivals have been using false email addresses and unmarked envelopes to unleash "a campaign of calumny and disinformation." How invidious!

    Reliance, along with other privately owned operators in India, has been audited during the past few months, and some of the alleged results have been leaked. (See IndiaWatch: Probes, Profits & Payments.) And Reliance, obviously, isn't happy. "Whatever alleged remarks the special auditor has arrived at are completely unilateral, biased and prejudiced," claims the Indian conglomerate.

    Now, of course, everyone wants to know what's in the report.

  • Sighs of relief could be heard at Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) headquarters today as The Indian Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs approved the Norwegian operator's increased stakeholding in new mobile carrier Unitech Wireless, which will market its services under the name Uninor. (See Telenor's Unitech Stake Approved, Uninor Is Born, and IndiaWatch: Hold-Ups & Hangovers.)

    While Telenor has waited for the decision, Unitech has been busy picking vendors and preparing for its initial GSM launch in six services circles before the end of 2009. (See NSN Wins GPRS Deal in India, Unitech Picks AlcaLu, Unitech Wireless Outsources IT to Wipro, and A Guide to India's Telecom Market.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has teamed up with Chinese social networking site Kaixin001 to jointly develop mobile applications for the site. According to the giant Swede, Kaixin001 already has 50 million users and is adding an amazing 200,000 new registrations per day. China's population is 1.33 billion and rising -- that's a lot of potential users. (See Ericsson Wins With China Social Net.)

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator Etisalat has added to its international assets with the $155 million purchase of Tigo, Sri Lanka's second largest mobile operator with 2.25 million subscribers. (See Millicom Sells Sri Lanka Biz and Etisalat Buys Into Sri Lanka.)

    And it doesn't look as if Etisalat will stop there: The company, which today announced revenues of 22.1 billion UAE Dirhams (US$6 billion) for the first nine months of this year, says it's "studying the opportunities of growth in some markets across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the wider Arab world," but is "unlikely to look at European countries due to the lack of growth opportunities and limited openings there."

    Like Telenor, Etisalat has acquired a stake in an Indian mobile services startup (formerly Swan Telecom, now Etisalat DB) and has been investing heavily. (See Etisalat Reports Q3 and Etisalat, Reliance Strike Mega Network Share Deal.)

  • PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. (Telkom) has been updating on its prospects, predicting slower growth, reports The Jakarta Globe. However, it expects to spend less (US$2.1 billion) on capital expenditures in 2010, but plans to make some acquisitions, according to The Jakarta Post.

    Other news from Asia/Pacific includes: — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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