SSTL considering spectrum trading and sharing as alternative to auction

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SSTL considering spectrum trading and sharing as alternative to auction
Telecom operator Sistema Shyam Teleserivces said on Tuesday it will look at spectrum trading and sharing policies to increase its holding of airwaves if the company does not get them through auction.

"We are thinking about spectrum sharing, spectrum trading policies. Of course, this is an additional opportunity for us to increase our spectrum basket," Sistema Shyam Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Shukov said in New Delhi.

He was responding to media queries on growth alternatives that SSTL is planning if it does not get spectrum through the proposed auction of CDMA airwaves in time.

The company said it now wants the government to index the price of 800MHz band (CDMA spectrum) with that of 1800MHz (used for GSM services by companies like Airtel, Vodafone).

The regulator on February 22 this year recommended a base price of Rs. 2,685 crores per megahertz for CDMA airwaves which, AUSPI had said, is 47 percent higher than the minimum price earlier approved by the Empowered Group of Ministers on Telecom, and 80 percent higher than the base price of 1800MHz - generally known as 2G spectrum.

AUSPI is the industry body of CDMA players.

Shukov said the company wants spectrum be auctioned in this calendar year otherwise the company will lose the level-playing field in the industry.

"We will look for expanding footprint in other services if the reserve price is fixed at reasonable level. Trai recommended price is high," he said.

Sistema Shyam at present has operations in 9 out of 22 service areas - Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West), West Bengal and Rajasthan.

The company today a reported a loss at Rs. 445 crores for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2013.

The loss was of Rs. 778.7 crores in the same period a year ago.

Revenues were reduced by about 23 percent to Rs. 299.6 crores during the quarter from Rs.  390.2 crores in the same period a year ago, reflecting closure of operations in 13 service areas.

The company narrowed annual loss for 2013 to Rs. 2,694.2 crores from Rs. 2,982.1 crores in 2012.

The consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 1,227 crores at the end of 2013, 24.2 percent lower than Rs. 1,619.2 crores it registered at the end of 2012.

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