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SSTL to bid for spectrum; stops operation in 10 circles

Posted on Feb 21, 10:05PM | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 21 : Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. (SSTL) that provides telecom services under the MTS brand Thursday said it will close down operation in 10 circles within 30 days and participate in the spectrum auction beginning March 11.

The Russian majority owned operator said it has initiated the process to inform its customers in 10 circles - Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa and Punjab -- to port out to other telecom service providers of their choice.

The company has decided to shut down operations in these circles following the Supreme Court's order. The apex court last week asked all telecom firms whose licences were revoked to immediately stop operation.

In February last year, the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 permits of second generation (2G) airwaves held by eight firms, including Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Telenor and Sistema Shyam TeleServices.

SSTL said it has prepared a "new blue print for growth" in the Indian market.

"I would like to confirm our intention to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions in March 2013. We are in the process of drawing an optimal strategy for the auctions based on several factors, including spectrum pricing, levels of competition etc.," Vsevolod Rozanov, president and chief executive officer, Sistema Shyam TeleServices, said in a statement.

"The intent is now to look at life beyond all the uncertainties and build an even stronger MTS brand in India. The go forward plan includes continuing with the company's focus on its data-centric, voice-enabled strategy in select circles," he said.

SSTL said less than 10 percent of its 3,000 employees would be affected by the shutting down of operations in 10 circles.

"Full effort is being made to absorb maximum number of employees in other circles. In-addition, care is being taken to place some of the employees in other companies," SSTL said in the statement.

"The Company will also be closely working with all its local partners to address their concerns. SSTL has a customer base of over 14 million, of which less than 15 percent come from the impacted circles," it said.