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If you don’t know anything about Tata Communications or Tata
Consultancy Services, that is about to change. If you’re in managed services,
unified communications, network integration or content delivery, you may cross
paths with either or both in the near future. And when you do, it will be
either as a competitor or a partner.

Think of Tata Communications and Tata Consultancy as the Indian
versions of EDS and Verizon,
except that they are the same company. They are arms of a conglomerate based in
Mumbai, India, one that has been
aggressively expanding its IT and communications businesses through
acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

The conglomerate is Tata Group, which, among other things, runs hotels,
flies charter jets, roasts coffee and manufactures cars. Those Land Rovers and
Jaguars you see pulling out of affluent neighborhoods? Once identified with
British refinement and luxury, both brands are now owned by Tata.

The company has been on an epic purchasing spree that could put
acquisitive technology companies such as Oracle and CA to shame.

Some of Tata’s most significant acquisitions are in the communications
and IT services sectors, and they leave no doubt that the company intends to be
a dominant force in those areas.

Tata Consultancy revealed Oct. 8 it is acquiring the BPO (business process
outsourcing) arm of Citigroup, which operates under the name Citigroup Global
Services. Tata is sure to turn the acquisition into an aggressive outsourcing
play, just as companies may start looking to outsource more of their IT
functions to keep budgets under control.

In June, Tata Communications acquired a majority stake in South African
carrier Neotel, which followed by days the announcement of a joint venture with
CEC in China. Earlier in the decade, Tata acquired
another Indian carrier, VSNL, and later picked up Tyco Global Network, which
operates a network of undersea cables. The company also has acquired Canadian
communications company Teleglobe.

With those acquisitions, Tata has established itself as one of the
world’s largest communications carriers, and its intentions are assuredly