What Happens to 3G Spectrum in 3 Circles Alloted to S-Tel?

STel Mobile spectrumAmidst of all telecom related mess up, it seems everyone is so concerned about 2G spectrum – its policy, allocation, reserve price and all these. But the whole thing is so messed up, considering 2G spectrum is mainly for voice, which is in turn as bread and butter for consumers and operators.

But Govt. is not doing anything to get back the 3G spectrum from STel, one of the operators whose licenses were cancelled by court order in February 2012. During that time STel was operating in 5 circles – Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Bihar – Jharkhand and North East and offering 2G/GSM voice and data services.

In 2008 STel got spectrum and UASL in 6 category ‘C’ circles including Jammu and Kashmir. As in February 2012 the operator’s licence was cancelled, its foreign invester BaTelco (Currently BaTelco is looking for a come back in India, via Reliance Communications’s Globalcom) sold its entire stake to Indian partner Sky City Foundation. Siva Group, headed by Sivasankaran has the majority stake in STel. STel also won 5MHz 3G spectrum on 2100 MHz band in Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar in a valid auction process in 2010; the ownership of those 3G airwave still belong to STel. The company did not roll out 3G services in none of the circles, while its website reads that STel’s network is a 3G-ready network.

At present Stel website (Stel.in) is still alive and offers MNP procedure. Shiva Group’s website also notes for STel as the company’s telecom project and writes that STel owns the 3G spectrum while 2G licences were cancelled. Just after the cancellation of its licenses the company wrote to Prime Minister they will refund the spectrums if Govt. agrees to refund their money wasted for acquiring 2G and 3G spectrum with interests. STel does not seem in a position or desire to start its business again in India, as the company did not participate in any of the 2G auction process lately (Nov 2012 and March 2013).

So the solution is simple, take back the spectrum on 2100MHz from STel and refund the money they paid during 2010 3G auction along with interest, and conduct a small 3G spectrum auction for these three circles. Though I doubt anyone can invest for 3G in those category ‘C’ circles except Telenor who are still giving priority to voice markets.

But is there any movement from Govt to get back STel’s 3G spectrum? No. Nobody knows why. Keeping 3G spectrum unused, it’s no good.

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18 Comments on "What Happens to 3G Spectrum in 3 Circles Alloted to S-Tel?"


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February 14, 2014 2:47 pm 2:47 PM
Now a days i am using the Docomo mobile service provider but some days before i am a great fan of Stel because before some days Stel is counted as the best service providers in our area. The tariff plans are quite lower and better than other providers. Still i am using the stel number after MNP service. The 2g internet speed of Stel is also very impressive. It is better if Stel may come to our are for a lower call rate and impressive network. By the way thanks a lot for such a nice information and i appreciate… Read more »
March 30, 2013 4:42 pm 4:42 PM
Government should take back the spectrum held in 2100MHz from S-tel and refund the money paid by them in auction, but instead of returning the money with interest it should return only 85% of the amount paid and keep 15% as usage charges of the spectrum for 3yrs since 2010 which is approx 15% of the 20yrs licence period awarded to it. The fact that it did not roll out HSPA services on the spectrum won by it is of no substantial concern to the government, since it was S-tel’s personal decision to do so. As for the re auctioning… Read more »
March 31, 2013 7:05 pm 7:05 PM

ESMAIL — you should be the next TM (Telecom Minister) !!!

March 31, 2013 10:53 pm 10:53 PM

Haha, how I wish that was possible 🙂

March 30, 2013 4:32 pm 4:32 PM

I am from Odisha & have the same Q. There is still no 3G network in my area except of BSNL which is a joke for 3G itself.

Nitin Raj
April 7, 2013 12:23 pm 12:23 PM

Odisha does have Aircel & Reliance 3G working in full flow…