Sistema due south

27 Oct 2008

Russian conglomerate Sistema, the owner of a pan-Indian unified telecoms services licence, will launch mobile services in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by February 2009, the group’s chief representative in India, Alexander Chinyaev, told local news source Express Buzz. Sistema began Indian mobile operations via a majority stake in Rajasthan-based CDMA operator Shyam Telelink (Rainbow) in September. Sistema feels it wise to lay a southern foundation first, and work northwards systematically, Chinyaev told the newspaper, adding that, ‘Our strategic team feels that because of infrastructure, subscriber numbers and growth of economy, it is better to start from the south upwards.’ The group is aiming to eventually cover the whole country, and plans to have 35 million subscribers in India by 2012. The company has already invested USD1.5 billion in India’s telecom sector, and plans to up spending to USD5 billion in three years.