Mobile operator S Tel, which has won 3G licence for three circles, on Wednesday said it would invest Rs. 700 crore for acquiring 3G spectrum and roll out of services. The joint venture company between Siva Group of Chennai and Bahrain Telecom (Batelco) plans to raise Rs. 338 crore through a 1:1 debt to equity ratio towards licence fee payment to the Department of Telecom for the three circles of Bihar and Jharkhand, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh.

According to S Tel Chief Executive Officer Shamik Das, “Our business strategy is aimed at making benefits of mobility accessible to a large section of society in the six growth circles. Despite being a new operator which has launched services in India in the last six months, we had aggressively bid for 3G spectrum and won licences in three circles. Strategically, our investment in 3G spectrum is targeted at being ready for all future services. Our network is compliant with third generation standards and we are well geared to keep pace with the adoption of this technology.”

About the company's future investment plans, Mr. Das said it would invest Rs. 360 crore over the next five years to roll out 3G services in Bihar and Jharkhand, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh. “We are at present working out details for raising this sum and are in talks with potential lenders,” he added. The company has 2G licence for three more circles of Assam, North-East and Jammu and Kashmir, while its current subscriber base in three circles has crossed the 10-lakh mark. It plans to launch its services in Assam and North Eastern region in the next couple of months.

Stating that 3G technologies were important elements for advancing socio-economic development, bridging the digital divide that existed in certain regions especially where teledensity and Internet penetration were low, Mr. Das said: “3G mobile connectivity has the potential to deliver essential and richer communication services like financial, healthcare and education that benefit people at every tier of society.”

Similarly, S Tel Director and Siva Group President P. Swaminathan said: “Securing 3G licences in the three circles in which our 2G services have been launched highlights the long-term strategic commitment of S Tel and the keenness of the joint venture partners to offer the best of services to their customers.”

Keywords: 3G spectrum

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