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S Tel bets big on mobile number portability
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NEW DELHI: S Tel which recently launched services in Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand, is betting big on the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) to further its fortunes in India’s crowded telecom arena.

New entrants will be the biggest beneficiaries of MNP as it allows them to target the best post-paid customers of existing incumbents. A review of the circles in which S Tel operates shows upto seven to eight operators competing for customers.

Speaking to TOI, S Tel’s CEO Shamik Das said, “We are ready to take the MNP route to win in the marketplace . Another key priority for us is to participate in 3G auctions when they happen but for selective circles alone”.

S Tel’s subscriber base was over 5 lakh at the end of December 2009. It was awarded six C-category licences in early 2008 of which it is yet to launch Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

S Tel is battling the DoT in the High Court for licenses for a remaining 16 circles which it was denied after telecom minister A Raja arbitrarily cut off the date of award of licences to September 25, 2007 from the earlier October 1, 2007 deadline.

In November 2009, S Tel achieved financial closure for Rs 2,000 crore and eight leading public sector banks including IDBI have agreed to provide Rs 953-crore longterm funding of nine years to the company. It has launched a local brand campaign in its service areas, which rides “affordable price with agreed quality of service” as its mantra for accessing consumers.

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