Sistema unit gets pan-India telecom licence

Sistema unit gets pan-India telecom licence
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First Published: Tue, Jan 15 2008. 02 51 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jan 15 2008. 02 51 PM IST
Reuters
Moscow: Indian telecoms operator Shyam Telelink Ltd, co-owned by Russian services conglomerate Sistema, has got a telecom licence covering the whole of India, Sistema said on Tuesday, 15 January.
“We have obtained licenses for 21 Indian territories. Taking into account the one we already have in Rajasthan, we have seized the whole territory of India,” Sistema’s spokesman Kirill Semenov told Reuters.
The licence allows the company to build and operate both mobile and fixed-line networks.
Semenov declined to say how much the company had to pay for the licences. He said Sistema will make an official announcement later on Tuesday.
A source close to the company said Sistema had paid around $630 million to get the licence.
Sistema bought 10% of Shyam Telelink, which provides CDMA cellular services in Rajasthan, in September and plans to exercise an option to buy a further 41%.
Last month, Sistema President Alexander Goncharuk told Reuters the company could invest between $4 billion and $7 billion in creating a pan-Indian operator.
There are about 217 million mobile users in India and service providers have been signing up more than eight million new subscribers each month on the back of a booming economy, low call tariffs and falling handset prices.
The potential for growth is huge as only about a fifth of India’s more than 1.1 billion people have access to a mobile phone, while Russia’s mobile market is close to saturation.
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First Published: Tue, Jan 15 2008. 02 51 PM IST