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New Mobile Provider S Tel launches mobile services; joins 1p tariff war
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S Tel, a joint venture between the Chennai-based Siva group and Bahrain Telecom, today said it will launch mobile services from tomorrow with twin tariff plans of one paise a second and 50 paise per minute.

To begin with, the company will start services in Himachal Pradesh and in the next ten days in Bihar and Orissa, P Swaminathan, Director, S Tel said, adding the company plans to add three more circles by the end of the first quarter next year.

S Tel is sharing the whole infrastructure with existing operators and has decided not to put up any tower of its own.

The company has licences for Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam circles.

For the remaining 16 circles, the company is embroiled in litigation with the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the case is being heard by the Supreme Court.

S Tel has tied-up over Rs 2,000 crore with debt component of Rs 953 crore and the promoters (Siva Group) and Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunications Company) have already brought in Rs 1,253 crore as equity capital.

Batelco has 49 per cent stake in S Tel and the Siva group holds 51 per cent stake.

Asked whether the company was keen to participate in the forth coming auction for 3G mobile spectrum, Swaminathan said "yes, we are looking at it but in which circles is yet to be decided".

S Tel CEO Shamik Das, said, "The 6 growth circles with a population of 226 million people provides an opportunity to deliver a tailored, relevant value proposition."

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