Feb 21, 2013, 03.35 PM IST | Source: PTI

SSTL to bid for spectrum, shut down operations in 10 circle

CDMA operator Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) announced it will participate in the spectrum auction to be held next month and will close operations in 10 service areas after 30 days.

CDMA operator Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) announced it will participate in the spectrum auction to be held next month and will close operations in 10 service areas after 30 days. "I would like to confirm our intention to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions in March 2013....The go forward plan includes continuing with the Company's focus on its data centric-voice enabled strategy in select circles," SSTL President and CEO Vsevolod Rozanov said in a statement.

The company, which provides service under MTS brand name, said it has started the process of informing its customers in 10 circles--Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa and Punjab--to switch to other telecom operators of their choice.

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"SSTL is providing a 30 day time window to all its customers in the 10 circles to exhaust their balance and to port out to a telecom operator of their choice," it added. The closing down of SSTL's operation in 10 circles will impact around 22 lakh customers on its network. "SSTL has a customer base of over 14 million, out of which less than 15 per cent come from the impacted circles," the company said.

Its spokesman declined to clarify whether the bidding would be for CDMA spectrum in the 11 circles where it has not mentioned any closing of operations. Supreme Court had last year cancelled 21 out of 22 permits of the company in which Russian conglomerate Sistema JSFC and Russian government hold 56.68 per cent and 17.14 per cent stake respectively.

The company did not participate in November 2012 auction citing that its curative petition is pending before the apex court in which it has sought exemption from SC judgement that cancelled its telecom permits. The curative petition of the company was rejected by the apex court last week.

In a separate order on February 15, 2013, the Supreme Court asked telecom companies whose licences were cancelled by it and could not win or participate in November 2012 spectrum auction, to close their operations. SSTL, however, said the order does not impact its business and a separate order by the apex court on its matter is awaited.

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