SSTL gets 8 circles

SSTL gets 8 circles

Mumbai: Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL), which lost its mobile licences in 21 circles following a Supreme Court order, on Monday won spectrum in...

mtsMumbai: Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL), which lost its mobile licences in 21 circles following a Supreme Court order, on Monday won spectrum in eight circles in the country. The company, a joint venture between Sistema of Russia, the Russian government and India's Shyam group, won the 800 Mhz spectrum auction in the eight circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal. SSTL was the sole participant in the second round of airwaves auction that ended on Monday. It won airwaves in eight circles for Rs 3,639 crore, but will be able to set-off the previous cost of A Rs 1,626 crore, paid by it for the 2008 licence, against the new spectrum cost. The company, which operates on the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) platform, won the spectrum at the minimum bid price. The auction of the same spectrum in November had not elicited any response from telecom operators, forcing the government to slash the bid price by half. The new spectrum will be valid for 20 years. SSTL will have to pay 25 per cent of the final bid amount within 10 days, followed by a payment moratorium until March 2016, after which the balance amount will be paid in 10 equal annual installments. According to the company, the government has confirmed that it will be able to set off the previous licence cost of Rs1,626 crore against the new spectrum cost. SSTL provides telecom services under the MTS brand and its operational footprint will also include the Rajasthan circle. Its footprint will enable it to service 40 per cent of the country's population, address over 60 per cent of data potential and also safeguard 75 per cent of its current revenues, said the company. "Given the range of variables we have considered and the spectrum cost for 800 Mhz, it was a big challenge to arrive at a core list of eight circles and to bid accordingly," said Vsevolod Rozanov, president & CEO, SSTL. "Our go forward plan includes building an even stronger MTS brand in the country by focusing on our data centric-voice enabled strategy." The company decided not to bid for Mumbai, Maharashtra and UP East circles considering a range of variables including spectrum pricing, number of carrier slots available, levels of competition and future data potential in the circles.
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