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May 13, 2002 | 1330 IST
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MTNL to float new software firm

Thomas K Thomas

The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd is floating ComSoft, a new venture for developing communications software.

This will be MTNL's second subsidiary. Earlier, its IT-enabled services division was hived off into a subsidiary called Millennium Technologies.

MTNL is also launching next month a research and training centre called the Asian Institute of ICT (information, communication and technology) with an investment of Rs 1 billion.

The centre will provide managerial training and undertake strategic research in the area of communications. MTNL had set up a governing council at the Asian Institute of ICT, said Narendra Sharma, chairman and managing director of MTNL.

"Setting up a software venture is a step towards becoming a complete communications company. We have set up the infrastructure and are offering communications services. There was a need to develop applications and software to enhance our services and open up new sources of revenue," Sharma said.

The ComSoft venture was in line with MTNL's strategy to offer value-added communications services in e-commerce, e-governance and intelligent networking. "There are new segments like global positioning systems, efficient billing systems and new applications, which need to be developed to expand communications services," Sharma added. However, ComSoft will not be based in Delhi.

Telecom analysts say with the telecom market, especially the cellular segment, growing at a phenomenal rate, communications software has great potential in the country.

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