SSTL plots move to LTE

3 Jun 2015

Russian-backed mobile operator Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), which operates under the MTS India brand, is looking to migrate from CDMA-based technology to Long Term Evolution (LTE), the Economic Times writes. Dmitry Shukov, the company’s CEO explained that the CDMA technology currently used by the cellco is ‘not very popular,’ adding that it will be difficult for CDMA players to compete once mass LTE rollouts take place across the country. The official was quoted as saying: ‘Our ultimate intention is to launch 4G services but the time of transition will be decided by various factors such as spectrum sharing and trading norms, and M&A [merger and acquisition] policy.’ At present, the cellco’s spectrum holdings are insufficient to launch LTE services, but the operator is exploring opportunities to rectify the situation, Mr Shukov noted: ‘We are negotiating with telcos having 800MHz spectrum and persuading them to enter into an agreement which can be beneficial for both the companies. [The] 800MHz [band] is the most efficient band for high-speed services and we have liberalised spectrum but non-contiguous.’

Meanwhile, commenting on the telco’s ambitions for consolidation in the Indian mobile sector, the CEO confirmed that the company is involved in talks, but added that ‘in the absence of norms for spectrum sharing and trading, and M&A policy, it would be impractical to comment on specific talks.’