TWST: We'd like to begin with a brief historical sketch of the company and a picture of the things you're doing at the present time.

Mr. Kumar: As a company we've been in existence for over 130 years, but our real transformation and journey as Tata Communications started about seven years ago in early 2002 when the Tata Group acquired controlling interest from the government of India in the erstwhile organization called VSNL. We actually changed our name from VSNL to Tata Communications in February 2008. We are a global provider of communication solutions to both enterprises and to wholesale customers. In doing so, we serve both the business market as well as other telecommunication carriers. We offer a whole range of services that span various forms of network connectivity services including security, hosting, storage and various other data center services. Additionally Tata Communications offers applications that are focused on communication and collaboration, both of which are very important in the very distributed and globalized environment that businesses operate in today. Our reach is global. We have key strength in certain areas, but we operate today after significant amounts of investments in organic and inorganic activities over the last several years on a global basis.

TWST: How would you describe the competitive landscape and your competitive advantages?

Mr. Kumar: Our strategy is focused on a couple of things. One, is establishing competencies and leadership in the emerging markets and we're already the leader as far as data communication services is concerned in the Indian market; however we're extending that to other markets through joint ventures and local investments in facilities-based licenses in markets like South Africa as well as in China for VPN services. The second aspect of our strategy relates to being an integrated global wholesale provider. We have taken a contrarian view compared to several others in the industry by building a global wholesale capability that spans voice over IP, submarine cables and signaling services for mobile operators. Our view is that taking an integrated view of wholesale can actually be quite a profitable business. More important, wholesale also gives us the reach and a cost structure that allows us then to compete effectively in the enterprise space serving multinational customers that need large networks on a global basis that span all the continents. The third pillar of our strategy is that through offering converged communication and IT related services on an IP-based network so the IP technology is a boon for relatively new players like us in the global space, we have a legacy-free network that allows us to carry all kinds of traffic for our business customers over an integrated network, which essentially offers a very competitive cost and therefore pricing capability as well as the ease of manageability of our services and the ease of use for the end customer. Back to the question on competition our competition really varies by market segment. If you look at the services that we provide domestically in India with players like Bharati and Reliance, our advantage there is that we have the experience of having been in the market for longer than them and operating capabilities that we've built over the years really puts us in good stead and that's why as far as international data connectivity is concerned, we still maintain upward of 60% market share. Also, the very fact that we are a more global business than either of our competitors allows us to leverage global expertise when it comes to engineering product management and so on and so forth. When you look at markets outside India, our aspiration and where we're targeting our services is at the largest multinational customers that have focused on growing their businesses in the emerging markets. In that space we compete directly with the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Orange Business Services and players of that magnitude. Increasingly we're gaining market share by being a more flexible and agile provider of services. When it comes to wholesale, we provide turnkey services to many of the customers that we even compete with directly because we're the largest owner of submarine cable capacity in the world, and we're also the largest wholesale voice provider, both CDMA as well as VoiP. In the wholesale space, the competition is with carriers like FLAG, Apollo BACnet, SingTel and Epsilon in Asia.

TWST: What are the main items on your agenda for the next few years?

Mr. Kumar: On the agenda for us is an ambitious program to build out a global network of submarine cables as well as the switching fab that drives on that to provide the services that I just mentioned to large enterprise customers. We are halfway through that program and we will continue seeing it through. These projects are already underway, they are funded, and they are in execution phase; but seeing them through and making sure that things get delivered on time is important. It's also important for Tata Communications to get a market presence and the access to the right customers that can avail these services. Being a relatively new player, we have a fair bit of work to do as far as marketing and customer reach is concerned. The third is continuing to build our mandate services portfolio, which is really taking shape right now with our services like Hosting, Storage, Telepresence, and Content Distribution. Many of these are services where we are leading the pack in terms of defining where the industry is going and needs to go. Fleshing out the mandate services portfolio and making it available on a global basis seamlessly is the other challenge that we face.

TWST: You talked about where the industry needs to grow. Would you expand on that?

Mr. Kumar: The industry needs to go toward two things. One, technology needs to be a means to an end as businesses are becoming increasingly focused in the current environment on economic ease of use, and total cost of ownership. Additionally, the industry needs to deploy technologies that allow that and move away from the traditional way of offering services on a component basis. The second is in terms of the commercial models that businesses are now asking for that allows them to correlate telecom and IT costs to their actual business metrics.

TWST: What about possible problems or obstacles?

Mr. Kumar: Clearly in this environment, our biggest concern is the state of the global economy and the impact that it has on our customers and their ability to spend on telecommunication services. However, given that we are very focused on these markets, we are finding that businesses continue to have growth plans in emerging markets because they see that as the opportunity for growth of their business. So we feel good about the strategy we have been rolling out for the last few years, but obviously in the near term to medium term, there's significant pressure on all spending and we are therefore working with our customers to see them through that phase. Technology is something that we always have to keep a very close eye on. While we have used disruptive technologies to break into new markets, we need to make sure that we are not at the wrong end of that stick. Finally, we have to make sure that financially we manage our cash flow and our balance sheet very carefully through this period so that we can continue to fund our expansion. We need to be very prudent in where we put our investment dollars in order to emerge stronger at the end of this crisis.

TWST: What would you reasonably expect the company to look like in about three years?

Mr. Kumar: We think that the company will have truly achieved global scale in its operations. It's not necessarily size, but really more about coverage and being where our large customers are. We expect that we will be a recognized global Tier 1 provider of communication solutions to the Fortune 500 companies. However, in order to do that clearly, we'll have to maintain our market leadership in India. We also expect that our mix of services will be equally balanced between the traditional network services that most telcos offer and the managed services, which are in the gray zone between traditional telecom companies and the large IT companies.

TWST: What is your feeling about mergers and acquisitions?

Mr. Kumar: Mergers and acquisitions have figured prominently in our growth strategy so far. And it's not that in this environment you can't be and should not be on an acquisition binge, but we think as the markets bounce back there will be opportunities that present themselves. We have always stated that we will grow our business equally through organic activities as well as acquisitions, so that they continue to remain in the cards. Given the environment today, we will do so with caution.

TWST: What might be some annual milestones that investors could look for?

Mr. Kumar: I think monitoring the activities related to our penetration of enterprise customers and looking at how our mix of India and non-India services is changing are key milestones. The shift from pure network services to network and managed services are all good indicators to observe as we execute our strategy and we believe that so far we are tracking quite well.

TWST: Would you tell us about your own background and expertise and the same for one or two of your colleagues?

Mr. Kumar: One of the things that we have done in transforming ourselves from an Indian company to a truly global organization is we've looked at building a team of people who have exceedingly relevant international experience and experience in the markets and functions they operate in. So we have deliberately and consciously made sure that we haven't just taken a core team of people from India and then deployed them globally to roll out and execute our strategy. Our company is made up of people who come from the best telecom companies and technology companies from around the world, who have been doing this for 15 years, 20 years and more. We have been very careful to choose people who have backgrounds challenging incumbent operators and building companies away from their home markets, people who have the background and relationships in the Tata Group and in the Indian environment, which is critical given the need to effectively harness the resources within the Tata Group, and effectively navigate through the complex regulatory environments in India. Just coming to my background, I've been in the telecom business for the last 20 years and those 20 years have all been in the international space. I have worked in the US, in the UK and other European markets. I have also worked in Japan, Hong Kong and currently in Singapore. I have run businesses that have addressed both wholesale and enterprise customers and, in most cases, as I said earlier, I've done it in environments where I was never the incumbent, always the challenger. I loved the opportunity to create businesses and take on large guys and win in the marketplace by creating interesting propositions, while also creating organizations that have flexibility, aggressiveness and a culture of working very closely with customers. The head of our US business, Dave Ryan, previously worked with NTT and before that with Sprint. He has experience both in the domestic US markets as well as working from the UK and targeting European multinational companies. The Tata Communications executive who runs our India business, Sunil Joshi, spent several years in New Zealand setting up the sales channel and go-to-market product activities for the challenger in that market that was taking on Telecom New Zealand. Prior to that, he worked with HP and IBM. The CEO of our business, Srinath Narasimhan, is a veteran of the Tata Group and has been there for a long time. Additionally, he worked in several telecom and technology related businesses, worked with the Chairman's office directly, and has now been our able leader for the last seven years overseeing the turnaround and the strategy that we are currently executing. We believe we have a very strong team that has the right skills, but, more important, the right chemistry that is required to succeed in the fast changing space.

TWST: You just used the word "turnaround." Would you tell us about that? What happened?

Mr. Kumar: In 2002 we were a single product company that had 99% of its revenues from selling wholesale voice services. If you fast forward to where we are today, in 2009 we have about $2.5 billion in revenue, equally split between wholesale business and enterprise business. Our product mix is split between voice and data equally, so we've grown the data business from virtually zero to over $1.2 billion in the last seven years. We had one product, which was when we were an intermediary in the wholesale voice space; we have an extensive product set that spans both the voice and data spaces, going well beyond network services to a whole suite of managed services. Our revenues used to all come from Indian customers, 100% of it; today 55% to 60% of our revenues comes from outside India. So it's a very balanced portfolio that is continuing to grow and evolve, but there is no aspect of the business, whether it is financials or product mix or services or people or organization structure, which is discernible today if you look at the organization from 2002. It has been a complete transformation of the business on all accounts and we are quite pleased with where we are but realize our journey is still underway.

TWST: Do you see any need to improve the company's capital structure?

Mr. Kumar: That's something that we constantly look at, but it's not the top priority at this point. Right now, we are looking more at how we can continue to operate with the current structure.

TWST: Do you feel that the investment community understands the company as well as you would like it to?

Mr. Kumar: We've been doing a better job over the last year two years on communicating and articulating our strategy to the investment community. Over the coming quarters we'll also start talking about some of the metrics, which I had mentioned earlier, that would clearly give the investment community a good sense for where our business is going and how it's fundamentally changing because only looking at the top level figures you might not always discern some of the shifts that are taking place, which are both important and positive.

TWST: What would be the two or three best reasons for the long-term investor to look very closely at Tata Communications?

Mr. Kumar: I think one is telecom is a business that usually withstands, relatively speaking, an economic cycle. Furthermore, if you look at our business in particular, the strategy that we are pursuing spans both wholesale and enterprise. More important is our truly global strategy that has a very heavy bend and emphasis on emerging markets, which makes us a company that can grow and change very dramatically over the coming years and therefore I think definitely one investors should watch. Also, I think any company that challenges the status quo and goes against some of the larger and long established, is a reason to pay attention to us.

TWST: Is there anything that you would like to add?

Mr. Kumar: As I said, the strategy that we've put together which is legacy-free network, leverage disruptive technologies, is a focus on emerging markets is apparent through our real investments in India, South Africa, China. We're building submarine cables to all the major developing markets. Which makes us a very interesting player to watch both in terms of how we will change the dynamics of the telecommunication industry, but also as a financial investment.

TWST: What occupies your own attention most on a day-by-day basis?

Mr. Kumar: My attention is focused on two things. One is making sure that the our aggresive new product pipeline, all is executed well both in terms of getting the services out, but also getting sales teams educated, to getting the word out to the customers in the right fashion. I spend a lot of time looking at projects that are in our transformation and incubation buckets. The second is, we are a 5,500-person organization that operates in a very distributed fashion. The company is rapidly changing, and maintaining the communication and growing the right culture in our business is important. I'm very focused on a lot of organizational development initiatives and internal communication. These two areas are the ones that take up most of my time in addition to the normal things of business reviews and so on and so forth.

TWST: What is the core of your corporate culture?

Mr. Kumar: We have a very strong foundation that we leverage the Tata Group's culture, which is based on trust, integrity, and responsibility. As a company, moving away from the Tata Group code of conduct which is engraved and we hold very dearly, but the culture of Tata Communications that I try to keep alive is one of a startup. The words that we constantly use within our organization are flexibility, responsiveness, and what we call hypercommunication, because it translates to aggressiveness in the marketplace. Those three things flexibility, responsiveness, hypercommunication are all mantras within our system to ensure that we can behave and function like a large startup.

TWST: Thank you. (MC)

VINOD KUMAR President & COO Tata Communications Limited Videsh Sanchar Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi Road Mumbai, 400 001 India +91 22 6657 8765