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Etisalat follows Batelco out of India
23 February 2012
Etisalat joins Batelco in withdrawing from Indian mobile after court’s decision to cancel 122 2G licences
The Indian Supreme Court’s decision to cancel 122 2G mobile licences granted by the government in 2008 is forcing Middle Eastern operators Etisalat and Batelco to withdraw from their partnerships in the country.
Etisalat will close down its Etisalat DB joint venture with Swan Telecom in India, eliminating more than 2,000 jobs. About 1.7 million customers will have to shift to another operator by June.
Bahrain’s Batelco has already announced that it will exit India by selling back its 43% share in S Tel, said the report. About 3.5 million users will be affected by the close down of S Tel’s operations.
Etisalat said: “The decision has been taken in order to protect the interests of all stakeholders and to avoid incurring further costs at this time of rapid change and continued uncertainty in the Indian telecommunications sector.”
Etisalat and S Tel may be looking to claim damages from the government, according to the report.
Etisalat wrote off $829 million on account of the cancellation of 15 licences held by Etisalat DB.
The operator said it would consider returning to the Indian market only after the telecommunications sector showed clarity in the auction process and policies, as well as legal and regulatory framework. GTB
Further reading from Global Telecoms Business:
India 'needs 400 days' for new 2G auction 21 Feb 2012
Batelco sells stake in Indian mobile operator 10 Feb 2012
New 2G auction after India cancels licences 02 Feb 2012
Tikona signs up 220,000 for wifi alternative to broadband ... 24 Jan 2012