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Etisalat to stop service

New Delhi, Feb. 22: Etisalat, the Abu Dhabi-based mobile operator that operates through a joint venture with DB Realty in India, will stop its mobile services in the country after the Supreme Court cancelled its mobile permits.

Etisalat, however, is not selling its 45 per cent stake in the joint venture, prompting telecom sector analysts to say that the firm will be among the fresh bidders for 2G licences when they are auctioned later this year.

“As unanimously resolved by the board this evening, Etisalat DB will be taking steps to reduce operating costs, including the suspension of its network and services, pursuant to the terms of its UAS licences,” said the company in a statement.

It added that the decision of the Supreme Court “has removed EDB’s ability to operate from June 2, 2012”.

“Further information, including the official cessation date, will be communicated shortly to EDB’s customers through the appropriate channels,” the statement said.

Earlier this week, STel, which has operations in six circles with about 3.5 million customers, had sent text messages to its customers saying they could use the mobile number portability facility to switch operators.

“The decision has been taken 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,” said the Etisalat spokesperson.

A week after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences in connection with the 2G controversy, Etisalat had written off investments worth $827 million in India.

Etisalat had paid $900 million for its 45 per cent stake in the local joint venture with DB Realty Group, which was then called Swan Telecom.

Reliance Infratel

Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Infratel today approached telecom tribunal TDSAT, seeking to recover Rs 1,200 crore from Etisalat DB, which had taken its telecom infrastructure on lease.

The matter will come up for hearing tomorrow before the tribunal bench headed by chairman Justice S.B. Sinha.

 
 
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