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Sistema Shyam launches mobile phone services in Tamil Nadu


Chennai : Sistema Shyam Teleservices, the joint venture between India’s Shyam group and Russian telecom major Sistema SSA, Thursday launched its CDMA technology-based mobile services in 373 towns of Tamil Nadu.

With an overall investment of $5.5 billion, the company will also move to Kerala by March 30, company president Vsevolod Rozanov told reporters here.

Referring to the Russian government’s recent offer to buy about 20 percent stake in his company, Rozanov said: “We are still in discussions. The structure of the deal is still to be worked out.”

Rozanov declined to comment on whether Sistema Shyam planned to dilute its majority holding or was contemplating issuing fresh equity.

The company also plans to offer the much debated EVDO (evolution data optimised) service that allows a user to connect to the Internet faster, but which is opposed by GSM cellular operators.

The joint venture will also roll out services in West Bengal and the North East circles in the next two months, Rozanov said.

Sistema Shyam had acquired licences and spectrum to provide CDMA mobile services in 22 circles in the country last year.

Disagreeing with the notion that the industry is moving towards consolidation, Rozanov said: “Each telecom circle can have six-seven players as the market is growing.”

Queried about the company’s plans to offer global system for mobile (GSM) technology-based mobile phone service, he said: “The selection of technology is a conscious decision on our part. CDMA is the technology of the future.”

However, Rozanov declined to compare and contrast the average revenue per user (ARPU) and the churn ratio of the players using CDMA technology with that of GSM technology.

Later, speaking to IANS, Sistema Shyam managing director Alok Tandon said the number of cell towers for CDMA players will be around 40 percent lower than GSM operators. “The infrastructure cost for CDMA players are low compared to GSM operators.”