S-Tel to sure up rural expansion in Himachal

Shimla: With plans drawn up to start post paid mobile services and launch 3G services in Himachal Pradesh circle, S-Tel, the late comer to the crowded telephony market of the state has notched up 429 thousand subscribers in 14 months and targets to expand its rural network through the year.

Chief operating officer S Tel, Aravind Santhanam at a conference call said through a network of 38 distributors and 6400 retailers, the mobile service provider that was launched in December, 2009 was covering about 42.5 percent of the population.

He said that through 525 BTS sites the network was spread over 7430 villages and 53 towns and cities of the hill state.

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For 2011, the company targets to have 625 BTS towers and extend coverage to 56 towns and cities and reach 9000 villages. “We target to reach 50% of the population by the end of the year, he said.

Rudra Dash, head of the Himachal circle disclosed for a state that has a 7.1 million mobile phone subscriber base which is more than the population of the state, S-Tel, the last of the 12 players to enter the arena had got very got response in Himachal.

Quoting COAI figures, he said that our network had 4.29 lakh subscribers in Himachal, which we intend to expand as it was very popular, mainly among the youth.

Involvement of the company in the 2G scam notwithstanding, Dash said that they were here for the long haul and would continue to offer innovative products for their subscribers.

He said that plans for starting post paid services were afoot and the company was in the process of tying up with content providers before launching 3 G services.

Having attained revenues of Rs 3 crore per month, Dash said that the circle expected to break even by year end before turning profitable in its operations.

S-Tel is a joint venture between Siva Group (formerly Sterling Infotech Group) and Bahrain Telecommunications Co.

Based out of Delhi, the company had acquired unified access service licenses and spectrum for operating in Orissa, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, North East, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir.

S-Tel also bagged 3G licenses in the recent spectrum auctions and has plans of investing Rs 700 for rolling out the service.

Photo by: Amit Kanwar

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