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S-Tel’s 3G spectrum scenario in 3 circles

7 April 2013 607 views No Comment

Everyone interested in telecom is apprehensive of 2G spectrum’s policy, allocation, prices and the like. All is vague about it. 2G spectrum which is mainly for voice is fundamental for users and telecom operators.

s tel

The court had cancelled out S-Tel’s licenses for 3G spectrum in February last year. The government is still not doing anything to get get back the spectrum from S-Tel. at that time i.e. February 2012 S-Tel was operating in 5 circles. These are Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Bihar – Jharkhand and North East. S-Tel was offering 2G/GSM voice and data services in these circles. It had invested Rs. 700 crore for buying the spectrum.

In 2008, S-Tel won the spectrum and UASL in 6 category ‘C’ circles which included Jammu and Kashmir. When it was cancelled in February 2012, Ba Telco decided to sell its stake to Indian partner Sky City Foundation. Ba Telco is now trying to return to India in collaboration with Reliance Communications. The highest number of stake in S-Tel is held by Siva Group. In 2010, STel also won 5MHz 3G spectrum on 2100 MHz band in Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar. The auction was held openly. S-Tel, however, still owns 3G airwave. S-Tel does not provide 3G services in any of the circles, on the contrary the website claims to have a working 3G networking.

S-Tel is working even now and is offering MNP too. Shiva Group’s website states that S-Tel still is in possession of the 3G spectrum but the 2G licenses are cancelled out. After their cancellation, the company asked the Government to refund its money with interest that was wasted on acquiring 2G and 3G spectrums. In return, the company will refund the spectrums. As S-Tel has not participated in latest 2G auction processes held in November 2012 and March 2013, it seems not to be in mood of re-starting business in India.

The Government should now follow what S-Tel says and carry out another auction for these three circles. Though no other company than Telenor will be interested to buy it. Either Telenor or someone else is going to buy it is a later question, as Government is not carrying out any auction yet.

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