S Tel Set to Invest Rs. 700 Cr In 3G Mobile Services

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STel, the youngest telecom operator to have bagged 3G licenses in the recent spectrum auctions in India, today announced its plans to invest Rs. 700 crores for acquisition of 3G spectrum and roll out of services.

The company plans to raise Rs. 338 crores through a 1:1 debt to equity ratio towards license fee payment for the three circles of Bihar & Jharkhand, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh.

S Tel is the only new operator to have bid consistently and won 3G spectrum at a high success rate, leading to acquisition of licenses in all three circles of its current operations.The debt is already tied up with Indian nationalized banks via a bridge loan and the company is set to meet the timelines stipulated by DOT.

Commenting on the acquisition of the licenses, Mr. Shamik Das, Chief Executive Officer, S Tel said “Our business strategy is aimed at making benefits of mobility accessible to a large section of society in the six growth circles. Our commitment to consumers is entrenched in our company vision. 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 licenses in three circles.

He also said "We view 3G technologies as important elements for advancing socio-economic development, bridging the digital divide that exists in certain regions especially where tele density and Internet penetration are low. 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.”

Talking about the company's future investment plans, Mr. Shamik Das, Chief Executive Officer said, “S Tel will invest approx Rs. 360 crores in capital expenditure over the next five years to roll out 3G services in Bihar & Jharkhand, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh. We are presently working out details for raising this sum and are in talks with potential lenders.”

Batelco Group, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Peter Kaliaropoulos stated, “After having launched its operations in record time, S Tel has achieved a new milestone by being part of the inaugural group of operators to have won 3G spectrum in India. Together with our partner in India, Siva Group, we aspire to make S Tel a significant and formidable operator in the country, the third largest and fastest growing mobile market in the world,” he added.

In November 2009, S Tel achieved financial closure for its Rs. 2000 crore telecom project and was the first amongst the new operators to do so. Last month, the company became the fastest mobile operator in India to clock the 1 million mark in ‘C’ circles, having achieved the milestone in just 90 days of operations.

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