SSTL, RCOM in talks over potential joint venture

18 May 2015

Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the owner of Sistema Group, has held talks with Reliance Communications (RCOM) regarding a possible joint venture in India, the Economic Times writes. Mr Yevtushenkov ruled out any plans to sell off the group’s Indian division Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL), adding that: ‘We’ve been talking to different people regarding business expansion … Honestly, there is nothing much to say. Talks with several parties were ongoing.’ As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, SSTL, which offers services under the MTS India brand, scaled down its operations in India after it was forced to repurchase licences in 2013 following the mass cancellation of spectrum rights in 2012. More recently, the operator has locked horns with the regulator over its management of the 800MHz spectrum, traditionally used for CDMA-based services. 800MHz frequencies were omitted from the February 2014 auction, and reserve prices in March 2015 were set higher than those for the 900MHz or 1800MHz band, on the basis that the 800MHz range was suitable for Long Term Evolution (LTE).

India, Reliance Communications (RCOM), Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL, MTS India)