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SSTL to integrate its voice service with the internet
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At a time when the continuing tariff war is slated to hit revenues and bottomlines of telecom companies, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) plans to integrate its voice service with the internet to drive average revenue per user (ARPU).

The company, which operates CDMA telecom services under the MTS brand, plans to offer mobile broadband services on cellphones and a host of services around it.

For this, SSTL has entered into long-term agreements with RailTel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices to lease internet bandwidth.

The company also plans to roll out an array of co-branded high-end mobile phones and smartphones along with leading vendors like Samsung, Fly, ZTE and Huawei which will be configured for hi-speed internet access.

Talking to reporters in Kolkata on Wednesday, SSTL chief sales officer Atul Joshi said that integrating voice and high-speed internet services will be the way forward in the mobile telephony market. "ARPU of data services is at least 3-4 times more than that of voice," he said.

SSTL is already undertaking nationwide trials for its broadband service on mobile phones. The optimum download speed which it has been able to achieve is up to 3.1 mbps.

A joint venture between Russia’s Sistema and Shyam Group, SSTL currently has 2.5 million subscribers across India. "We had to upgrade our mobile base stations or BTS to enable such high-speed internet access. The CDMA technology allows to set up two separate channels for voice and data services, thereby allowing such hi-speed internet," said Mr Joshi.

The company is also in advanced talks with Canada’s smartphone major, Research in Motion, to roll out BlackBerry services.

"We are configuring our services for BlackBerry. This should be commercially rolled out by March 2010. In fact, BlackBerry services is also part of our strategy to integrate voice and internet," Mr Joshi said.

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