MTS, the mobile phone brand operated by Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd. (SSTL), plans to touch a countrywide subscriber base of 30 million in three years, which will enable it to “achieve break-even”, said the company’s CEO and President, Vsevolod Rozanov.

Addressing the media in Bangalore on Thursday, Mr. Rozanov said the company was “focussed” on the CDMA platform, which he said, “would enable it to provide high-speed Internet access to customers.”

SSTL is a joint venture between Russian conglomerate Sistema and Shyam Telecom, an Indian company that provides mobile telephony solutions.

Mr. Rozanov said MTS, being a latecomer, had launched voice and data services together because the company realised that “broadband would be mobile-centric in India.”

Bets on CDMA

Asked why the company was riding on the CDMA platform when most other CDMA operators had shifted their attention to the GSM platform, Mr. Rozanov said CDMA was “more efficient in terms of spectrum usage.” He said the limited availability of spectrum and its high cost were important factors that determined the choice of the platform.

The company is launching its services in Karnataka within a week, said SSTL’s Chief Operating Officer Suresh Kumar. High-speed data services (with download speeds of up to 256 kbps), he said, would be available in Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore and Belgaum soon.

Mr. Kumar said the company’s network of base stations would ensure that subscribers in other locations in the State would be able to achieve download speeds of between 80 kbps and 144 kbps.

SSTL is planning an investment of about $5.5 billion in the next 6-7 years, Mr. Rozanov said.

Of this, an investment amounting to $1.5 billion had already been made, he said. The company at present has a subscriber base of 2.5 million.

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