A listless Sistema struggles to 'ensure continuity'

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 07:40 hrs

pThe 3-billion investment of Russian telecom operator Sistema in India hangs in the balanceppSistema Shyam Teleservices is still in a bind about what should be its action plan after January 18 The CDMA operator is currently working on a &ldquoevery day every week basis&rdquo as it awaits the Supreme Court decision on the curative petitionppAll its licences except of Rajasthan circle will expire January 18 because of a Supreme Court order passed in February cancelling 122 telecom permits for alleged corruption in spectrum allocationppIt had filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court seeking restoration of its licences in May But it is yet to be listed for hearingpp&ldquoThere is a Plan A but no Plan B We came here on government&rsquos invitation We need to understand what is the way out At this stage we see there is sympathy that we can continue we need to see how&rdquo Sistema Shyam Teleservices president and CEO Vsevolod Rozanov told reporters on the sidelines of Telecom Leadership Forum 2012 on ThursdayppThere is no panic situation to date and the company will continue to operate on &ldquoevery day every week basis&rdquo until there is clarity Rozanov said adding &ldquoThe solution does not depend on me but with people who do policies It is a regulated sector&rdquopp&ldquoThe key thing that we are focusing on now is ensuring business continuity I don&rsquot have any other task now If our licences are cancelled then all the other things will be irrelevant If I am unable to serve my customers after January 19 it doesnt matter what kind of opportunities I have If we are not able to operate then it makes no sense&rdquo said RozanovppAccording to Rozanov the timing of the hearing on its curative petition and its result will determine the next course of actionppSistema Shyam which operates under MTS brand did not participate in the recent auction However it would &ldquovery seriously&rdquo consider participating in the next auction if the government decides to conduct another auction at a reasonable price at the level of 2008 reserve price said Rozanov But it would depend on the timing of the auctionppThe government has already said that it would put 800 MHz CDMA spectrum on a fresh auction by March 31 2013 It failed to get bidders for the 800 MHz airwaves during the recently concluded auction because oh high reserve pricepp&ldquoThere are 16 million customers 7000 jobs and three lakh retailers and a significant number of data customers with MTS It is a humble appeal to the government and the court that there is speedy resolution to the matter because we are coming close to January 18 and no one knows what to do&rdquo said RozanovppHowever the company would not go for acquisitions right now Rozanov said &ldquothere is no such plan as of now&rdquoppDuring its results announcement last month the company had said that it was open to acquisitions but would only take a decision once it is assured that its investments in India are securedp

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