MTS to launch its own 4G network in India.

Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:49

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL), a subsidiary of Russia’s Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corporation, which operates under the MTS brand, is planning to start providing 4G mobile telecommunication services using LTE technology, SSTL President Vsevolod Rozanov said on Monday, April 15.

The CDMA slots acquired by the company in an auction in March will allow it to provide a wide range of services, including 4G. “When the Indian market is ready, we will have the possibility to start providing data transmission services at higher speeds,” he said, adding that the company still have a year or a year and a half to hone its technologies.

In March 2013, SSTL won licenses for providing services in eight circles and said it would return to its data centric-voice enabled strategy.

Within several weeks after the auction, the company should get 800 MHz carrier slots in Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) & West Bengal.

The company will also continue working in Rajasthan, which was not affected by the Supreme Court ruling that revoked its licenses in 10 circles. According to Rozanov, these circles have 60 percent of mobile service users in India.

“We are going back to our previous data centric-voice enabled strategy. With a focus on our achievements in this field and our potential, we chose the circles to bid for. Based on this criterion as well as spectrum pricing, number of carrier slots available, levels of competition, the company decided against bidding for spectrums in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Uttar-Pradesh (East) circles,” Rozanov said.

Rozanov said, “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 8 circles and to bid accordingly. With Rajasthan circle also a part of MTS India’s footprint, we would be able to service 40 percent of country’s population, address over 60 percent of data business potential, safeguard 75 percent of our current revenues and significantly optimise our losses. Our go forward plan includes building an even stronger MTS brand in the country by focusing on our data centric-voice enabled strategy.”

The spectrum won by SSTL in eight circles is technology neutral and would be valid for 20 years. The company would be required to pay INR 3,639 crores for the license period. The terms include payment of 25 percent 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. The Government of India has confirmed that SSTL will be able to set off the previous license cost of INR 1,626 crores against the new spectrum cost, the company said.

SSTL is one of the fastest growing telecom companies in the Indian telecom market and is one of the top three data service providers in the country. The company nationally provides telecom services under the brand MTS to over 16 million wireless subscribers including more than 1.7 million High Speed Mobile Broadband customers in over 420 towns across the country. MTS is well recognised in India and worldwide for its commitment to high quality and innovative telecom solutions.

Headquartered in Gurgaon, the company has already invested over 3.2 billion U.S. dollars in the expansion of its telecom network across the country. It has so far opened more than 1,200 branded retail stores across India and engages customers through a retail universe of over 300,000 outlets.

Twenty-one of SSTL’s licenses were cancelled by the Honorable Supreme Court of India in an order dated February 2, 2012.

As of the end of February 2013, SSTL had on rolls employee count of about 2,850. SSTL has a customer base of over 12.1 million, out of which 13 percent come from the impacted circles.

NEW DELHI, April 15 (Itar-Tass)

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