Etisalat DB shutting down services

Dylan Bushell-Embling
23 Feb 2012

Following the cancellation of their 2G licenses by India's Supreme Court this month, Etisalat DB has announced plans to shut down services, and S Tel is rumored to be considering doing the same.


Etisalat DB announced that it was shutting down its network and services, in a bid to avoid incurring further costs, LiveMintreported


Etisalat DB, a joint venture between the UAE's Etisalat and DB Group's Swan Telecom, had around 1.7 million Indian subscribers at the end of 2011. The company had held an operating license for 15 telecom circles.


But earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled to revoke all 122 of the 2G licenses awarded in 2008 – including Etisalat DB's 15 licenses – at the start of June.


The court held that the licenses had been improperly awarded by former telecom minister A Raja, and instructed the government to re-auction the spectrum.


Etisalat DB's decision came one day after rival S Tel revealed it would start helping its customers port out of its network, amid rumors it may shut down operations as well.


The operator did not directly comment on the shutdown rumors, but said it was unable to receive the required funding from banks, and that its infrastructure and media vendors had started disconnecting services, Reutersreported


A message to its customers on the S Tel website states that “as our most valued subscribers, we would... like to inform that if you may so deem fit, you may opt for exercising the mobile number portability option available with you.”


S Tel had around 3.6 million customers as of the end of 2011, with operating licenses in six circles.


But the company has recently lost its foreign partner. Bahrain's Batelco was the first operator to announce plans to exit the Indian market following the court's decision, by selling its entire 43% stake in S Tel.

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