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Axiom signs India joint venture deal

ME's largest mobile phone retailer takes a slice of the lucrative Indian market with Future Group deal in India.

Axiom Telecom, the Middle East's largest mobile phone retailer, has signed a 50:50 joint venture agreement with Future Group - one of India's largest retailers - to carry out wholesale distribution and servicing of mobile phones and accessories in India.

The new joint venture company will focus on developing back-end sourcing infrastructure with which to support the existing telecom retailing business of Pantaloon Retail, a subsidiary of Future Group. Additionally, it will create a nationwide network of state-of-the-art after-sales service centres for mobile handsets in India.

"It is achievable to become number one in the market, and with the know-how we have, and the know-how they have in the Indian market, together we can actually make quite an impact," Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and founder of Axiom, told Arabian Business.

The agreement will allow Axiom to take a slice of the lucrative Indian market, which adds over 6 million new subscribers each month. The joint venture was enabled by Middle East investment bank Alpen Capital, along with India's Rabo Group.

"Future Group has very strong know-how in the Indian market, [yet] it lacks the experience in the telecom market," continued Al Bannai, whose company employs over 1600 people across 450 outlets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt and the UK.

"We have a strong background in the telecom market, we are an aggressive company and we have ambitious plans, but we lack detailed knowledge of the Indian market," he continued. "This means that between us, we can become the biggest player in the market very quickly."

Established in 1997, Axiom is the region's largest authorized distributor, retailer and after-sales support provider of mobile phones and phone accessories. In 2005, it sold a 40% stake in the company to Dubai Holding.

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